Orthopedic medical devices company Active Implants today announced a $40 million financing round: $30 million from the Ls Health Science Partners fund and $10 million from its previous investors, mostly private individuals. The company is developing implants for treatment of the hip and knee joints. Its leading product is an implant for replacement of knee meniscus in patients age 35-60.
The company recently appointed Ted Davis, former CEO of Microport Orthopedics, an international medical device company originating in China, as its president and CEO. Davis was previously responsible for orthopedics in Wright Medical, whose sales totaled hundreds of millions of dollars before it was acquired by Microsoft. As part of his job there, he acquired experience in launching new products in the US and Europe.
Davis said today that recruiting patients for two clinical trials of the leading product was on schedule, and that the company believed that it would be completed by the end of the year. "The additional amount raised will enable us to continue investing in R&D on other products and clinical trials for this one, while at the same time making progress towards marketing the first artificial meniscus," he said.
LS Health Science partners Haynes Morris said, "The investment reflects our enthusiasm over the technology and its ability to supply a great and unsatisfied need in the market."
Active Implants VP R&D Eran Linder-Ganz, who manages the company's business outside the US, including R&D, engineering, and production in Israel and the company's European offices, said, "The company has two products: a product for replacing the hip joint and an implant for replacing damaged meniscus in the knee. The hip joint product has been in the market since 2006, but it is not the flagship product. It is marketed in Europe in cooperation with UK company JRI, and is one element in that company's general solution. It has been implanted in 3,000 patients to date, and contributed to our revenue at the beginning.
"Our leading product is an artificial meniscus implant made out of flexible material that resembles natural meniscus. The material, polyurathane, is used in a variety of ways, both in medicine and elsewhere, including both heart valves and boats, mattresses, packing, etc. We have strong patents for the product, and both the design and production are based on special knowledge.
"The product is designed for the middle-age market. People under 35 have operations, and people over 60, and perhaps even younger people now, undergo full knee joint replacements. Between these two age groups, there is a gap, with people who are too old for surgery, but too young for full knee joint replacement, because the replacement breaks down at some stage, and it may be possible to repair it, but usually no more than one repair can be made. Today, this group is offered anti-pain and anti-inflammatory injections and physiotherapy, but there are no other solutions.
"Our product is implanted in a minimally invasive procedure through a small incision, with no need to remove all of the damaged meniscus. It combines with the natural meniscus, and together, they are able to withstand the loads on the knee. The patient can resume normal activity within a very short time, and postpone a complete knee replacement for many years. If the implant becomes worn after 5-7 years, it can be replaced with a new one."
The company is aiming to demonstrate this in a trial with 200 patients. Following the trial, it will submit a request to market its product in the US, and if it receives approval, will commence commercial marketing. The product has already had marketing approval in Europe and Israel for several years, but marketing will only begin this year, and will be limited.
"This is a completely new product with no competition, so we have only one chance to educate the market," Linder-Ganz said. "We have therefore not yet begun marketing in Europe. We'll wait until we have gathered information from our clinical trial. We're now conducting very limited and experimental marketing, so that we'll really know how the market behaves around our product before we launch it on a large scale. Meanwhile, the responses are excellent. Every hospital in the US beginning to participate in the trial is issuing wonderful announcements to the press, and there's great excitement."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 16, 2017
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