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Ortho VCs Are Getting Soft, But Still Show Spine

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Private investors in orthopedic companies still are backing traditional and large joint companies, but soft tissue and biomaterials are drawing a solid total of early-stage capital.

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Given how many start-up companies and their investors have rushed into spine over the past decade or so, one might assume that getting spine surgeons to adopt new technology is relatively easy. - But less than five years after the launch of the first artificial disc was supposed to usher in the era of motion preservation, surgeons are still arguing for the benefits of fusion over disc replacement--underscoring the tension between new devices and traditional therapy options. But one start-up, Vertos Medical Inc., has found a creative way around the adoption issue. Promoting a novel approach to spinal stenosis, Vertos' solution is to focus on the patient, rather than the surgeon, treating stenosis earlier in the continuum of care by reaching out to a new clinical specialty, interventional pain physicians.

Medical Device and In Vitro Diagnostics/Research Deal Statistics Quarterly, Q2 2009

Highlights from the Q2 2009 review of medical device and in vitro diagnostics/research dealmaking: Financings by medical device companies jumped an impressive 62% over Q1 to $847 million--primarily from private VC rounds that contributed over 90% of the total deal volume with 52 early- and late-stage transactions--indicating a possible rebound in fundraising. Medical device M&As, on the other hand, proved to be a disappointment with only ten deals raising $794 million, most of which was Covidien's $470 million cash purchase of Vnus Medical. Although there were no big mergers, some device firms instead turned to the strategic alliance as a way to gain inexpensive products and technologies. On the in vitro diagnostics/research side, financing activity captured over three times the previous quarter's dollars through 12 deals totaling $302 million, however, almost 80% of that amount was from Beckman Coulter's $239 million FOPO. VC rounds only averaged $6 million apiece, with early- and late-stage rounds together bringing in $43 million. M&A in this industry segment was almost non-existent with only two transactions adding up to $358 million, a mere third of Q1 M&A deal volume.

Medical Device and In Vitro Diagnostics/Research Deal Statistics Quarterly, Q2 2009

Highlights from the Q2 2009 review of medical device and in vitro diagnostics/research dealmaking: Financings by medical device companies jumped an impressive 62% over Q1 to $847 million--primarily from private VC rounds that contributed over 90% of the total deal volume with 52 early- and late-stage transactions--indicating a possible rebound in fundraising. Medical device M&As, on the other hand, proved to be a disappointment with only ten deals raising $794 million, most of which was Covidien's $470 million cash purchase of Vnus Medical. Although there were no big mergers, some device firms instead turned to the strategic alliance as a way to gain inexpensive products and technologies. On the in vitro diagnostics/research side, financing activity captured over three times the previous quarter's dollars through 12 deals totaling $302 million, however, almost 80% of that amount was from Beckman Coulter's $239 million FOPO. VC rounds only averaged $6 million apiece, with early- and late-stage rounds together bringing in $43 million. M&A in this industry segment was almost non-existent with only two transactions adding up to $358 million, a mere third of Q1 M&A deal volume.

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