What is now Orthofix International began in Verona, Italy, eventually becoming a group of companies specialized in the design and manufacture of orthopedic and spine medical devices.
Orthofix Sales Growth ($ millions)
Orthofix International stemmed from the work of orthopedic researcher Giovanni de Bastiani of the University of Verona in Italy. Toward the end of the 1970s, Bastiani proposed the concept of “dynamization,” based on the natural ability of bone to repair itself. He developed a modular system of external axial frame devices that could be fitted to a bone, allowing micromovement at the fracture site to stimulate bone healing. Bastiani founded Orthofix Srl in 1980 in order to continue the development of the device and launch it as a commercially available product.
The company grew steadily into the early 1990s. By then, we had developed relationships with a network of distributors, bringing our products to more than 70 countries. A new milestone came in 1992 when Orthofix listed its stock on the NASDAQ.
Acquisitions played a prominent role in our growth throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s. Our first purchase came in 1992, when we acquired the United Kingdom's Novamedix Ltd and their Deep Vein Thrombosis prevention product – the A-V Impulse System. The AVI was a significant product for Orthofix for 18 years and was sold in 2010 to Covidian Healthcare.
In 1993, we acquired two more British companies, Orthosonics and Colgate Medical. Orthosonics added the development and manufacture of orthopedic devices utilizing ultrasound technology. We established a presence in the U.S. in 1995 by acquiring American Medical Electronics Inc. (AME). The acquisition brought us a new specialty, that of bone growth stimulators and bone substitutes. AME also gave us an extensive sales and distribution network in the U.S. In 2000, we boosted our range of spinal care products again by acquiring Kinesis Medical Inc.
Our U.S. expansion took a major step forward in 2004, when we completed the acquisition of privately-held BREG Inc. The California-based bracing and pain management company complemented our focus on the spine, bone reconstruction and trauma sectors and added nearly $60 million in annual revenues.
Another major highlight of 2004, the FDA’s clearance of the Cervical-Stim Bone Growth Stimulator, helped us establish ourselves as a leader and major innovator in the field of noninvasive spine fusion devices. Cervical-Stim was developed internally by the Orthofix Research and Development team, and our Clinical department conducted a strenuous class one clinical study with lead investigator Dr. Kevin Foley. The FDA approval granted from this study made Cervical-Stim the world’s first and only bone growth stimulator to increase the rate of cervical fusion success.
The most significant development in 2006 was our acquisition of Blackstone Medical, Inc., a company specializing in the design, development and marketing of spinal implant and related biologics products. At the time of acquisition, Blackstone was the largest privately held spine company.
Orthofix is proud of its partnerships with premiere organizations such as Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. Working directly with surgeon developers, we have also made impactful product acquisitions. With Dr. Dean Cole, we advanced the ISKD, the only FDA-approved internal bone lengthener. In 2004, we acquired the eight-Plate Guided Growth System designed by Dr. Peter Stevens, which is indicated for the correction of pediatric joint deformities such as bowed legs and knock knees.
In 2006 and 2007, we launched products that were developed organically via our surgeon relationships, and which have assisted our expansion into the fast-growing internal fixation market. Partnering with these surgeons, we developed three differentiated products for long bone fractures: the CentroNail System with Dr. S. Berki; the VeroNail Trochanteric System with Italian surgeon Dr. F. Lavini; and the Contours Volar Plating System with Drs. D. Ruch and D. Nelson.