Friday Five - The medtech week in review

Smith & Nephew sets M&A wheel rolling with a double-whammy

After stressing to investors how it plans to get more aggressive on the M&A trail this year, Smith & Nephew announced two acquisition agreements this week. One is the acquisition of BrainLab’s orthopaedic joint reconstruction business that specialises in robotics-related software for reconstructive surgery. The deal will bring over 500 global accounts to Smith & Nephew and the associated salesforce. In terms of BrainLab’s technology, Smith & Nephew said its first priority is to install the Brainlab hip software onto the latest iteration of Smith & Nephew’s Navio handheld robotic surgical system, NAVIO 7.0. The two companies will also develop additional applications in digital surgery.

The other acquisition is the $660 million deal to acquire Osiris Therapeutics, a regenerative medicine specialist, for Smith & Nephew’s advanced wound management division. Osiris’ main products include Grafix, a cryopreserved placental membrane used to treat acute and chronic wounds, and Stravis, a cryopreserved placental tissue product for soft tissue repair.

This acquisition leverages Smith & Nephew’s current leading position in the allograft market; what’s even more attractive is the double-digit growth rates of Osiris’ top-line. Smith & Nephew said it is confident these rates can be sustained through the medium term. Sales of Osiris’ products are entirely in the US, which Smith & Nephew noted is a fast-growing market for regenerative medicine.


Stryker makes second M&A call with OrthoSpace

Stryker scores its second acquisition this year - another tuck-in following last month’s chronic rhinitis treatment company Arrinex - with a deal for its sports medicine division. Israeli spacer device maker OrthoSpace is to be acquired by Stryker for an upfront payment of $110 million in cash, with another potential $110 million in milestone payments. The InSpace device is a biodegradable sub-acromial spacer designed to treat massive irreparable rotator cuff tears - it has been used to treat over 20 000 patients across 30 countries outside the US, and is not yet approved by the FDA.

Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo had indicated on several occasions how attractive the extremities market is, especially the shoulder repair space. At the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) meeting, currently held in Las Vegas, he told FrstWord MedTech that the company intends to shoot for the shoulder market next with Mako, where surgical procedures for this area could benefit greatly from the precision offered by robotics.


Robot wars at AAOS 2019

Robotic surgery is one of the hottest topics at this year’s American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons conference, held this week, with papers being presented to demonstrate the benefits - or not - of using this technology in hip and knee surgery. This included a study on the clinical and cost benefits of performing total knee arthroplasty (TKA) with Mako, Stryker’s handheld robotic surgical system and current leader in this space with more than 640 robots installed worldwide. The data are positive for Stryker, showing how robotically-assisted TKA not only brought more clinical benefits compared to manual TKA such as fewer complications, it also compared favourably cost-wise with Mako patients recovering faster, among other things.

But one of the much anticipated launch at AAOS is Zimmer Biomet’s recently cleared Rosa knee system, and this new market entrant has been touted as a worthy rival against Mako.

Should Stryker be worried about Rosa or is it adequately ahead of the curve to enjoy being leader for some while?

[See The Wider View: Knees-up - or skirmish - at AAOS as Zimmer Biomet launches new kid on the robotic block and look out for more MedTech PLUS insights on how Stryker believes it can sustain Mako sales momentum and stay in the lead]


Myoscience, Pacira combo a win-win to tackle post-op pain market

At AAOS, Myoscience showcased its iovera cryoanalgesic system and released preliminary results of its randomised controlled trial to assess what impact the treatment had on pain levels of patients undergoing knee surgery. The study met both its primary and secondary endpoints: data showed that there was an overall 35-percent reduction in opioid intake in the treatment group across the 12-week post-operative period, and this group also demonstrated a reduction in pain scores at three days and 12 weeks’ post-op.

FirstWord MedTech also caught up with Myoscience CEO Tim Still to find out more about the company’s pending acquisition by Pacira Pharma and what the merger means for the firm.

[See The Wider View: Pacira’s "implant-agnostic" model means win-win for Myoscience, says CEO, and follow @MedtechTinaTan to get more news bites from #AAOS2019]


Sharpless named Gottlieb’s interim FDA replacement

Just over a week after FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb made his surprise announcement that he was leaving the agency, Ned Sharpless, the current director of the US National Cancer Institute, has been named acting chief. Gottlieb is said to have recommended Sharpless for the job. Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Alex Azar said Sharpless' "deep scientific background and expertise will make him a strong leader for FDA" and that there will be "no let-up in the agency's focus, from ongoing efforts on drug approvals and combating the opioid crisis."

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