This article was originally published in Start Up
Today, the market for spine surgery is growing by more than 20% annually based on fusion technologies alone, despite the fact that those technologies are decades old and flawed. However, a heightened awareness of the clinical drawbacks of fusion is fueling prolific company creation in a new spine motion preservation segment of the industry. Some 118 start-ups in spine are dotting the landscape. Many hope to offer new devices that address spinal joint reconstruction; artificial discs, disc nuclei, annulus repair, facet joint replacement, and dynamic or flexible stabilization of the spine.
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Medical device investors still see great potential in companies developing products to treat the spine. But they're particularly eager to find companies with fresh new approaches toward treatments rather than those that offer a marginal improvement to current products on the market.
Medtronic recently declared that InFUSE, the company's blockbuster spine bone graft product that provides the growth factor rhBMP-2 as part of a lumbar fusion cage, was well on its way to becoming standard of care in spine surgery. The company's success has fueled interest in a plethora of potential entrants into the biologic bone formation market.
A brief discussion of a few new companies in the spine and orthopedic surgery market that presented at Medtech Insight and Windhover Information's IN SPINE & ORTHOPEDICS conference in Las Vegas, December 2006.