Now that hip and knee replacements have established a strong presence in the medical device market, entrepreneurs are turning their attention to other bones and joints. Implants, replacements and related equipment designed to improve quality of life for patients suffering from hand, elbow, foot and ankle problems comprise a growing market. Zimmer and Johnson & Johnson have long enjoyed a lock on the hip and knee replacement market but more manufacturers have been petitioning the FDA to review small bone and joint replacement devices.
In early March 2009, Small Bone Innovations (SBI) won approval from the FDA to move forward with preparing its Scandinavian Total Ankle Replacement (STAR) device for market.
This New York-based company also secured an additional $73 million in venture capital funding in April 2009. SBI literature indicates that U.S. consumers suffer over 800,000 ankle fractures annually and some portion of these injuries never heal properly. In addition, arthritis sufferers are considered a key demographic for ankle replacement devices.
Look for other businesses to introduce new products in this growing industry. As they do, competition for market share and attention from doctors and hospitals will increase. Advertising agencies that present the right mix of marketing ideas and experience stand to win new clients.[Source: Small Bone Innovations, Inc. press releases, 2009; Medical Devices release, March 2009]