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Orthopaedic Pediatric Market Draws New Companies, Products

By Carolyn LaWell

EPOSNA 2017, the combined annual meeting of the European Paediatric Orthopaedic Society and Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, served as an unveiling for new products, brands and companies as a focus on this niche market is drawing in device companies.

Two dozen device, bracing and pharmaceutical companies exhibited at EPOSNA in early May. The way Nick A. Deeter tells it, a decade ago there were three at the North American meeting: OrthoPediatrics (the company that Deeter founded in 2006), Biomet and Smith & Nephew. Attending EPOSNA with WishBone Medical, the pediatric company he founded earlier this year, Deeter said that he believes the pediatric segment is ripe for growth. For one, there is demand. WishBone estimates the market at $1.4 billion, growing at 10% per year. Two, it is one of the few areas in orthopaedics that has yet to gain attention from device companies—though our tracking of announcements in the space suggests that could be changing.

Here’s only some of what’s happened just since 4Q16: 

  • Implanet received global regulatory clearance for Jazz Frame connectors for use with the JAZZ Band in the treatment of adult and pediatric spinal deformity.
     
  • Materialise gained FDA clearance for Surgicase Orthopaedics to assist in pre-op planning for pediatric patients undergoing radius and ulna osteotomies.
     
  • Medicrea received FDA clearance of specialized posterior fixation and band connector components.
     
  • Mighty Oak Medical obtained FDA clearance for 3D-printed FIREFLY Pedicle Screw Navigation Guides, reported to be the only patient-specific pedicle screw guide indicated for use in pediatric patients.
     
  • NuVasive announced in its 4Q16 earnings call that it’s building up a salesforce for exclusive focus on pediatrics to promote its MAGEC rod for early onset scoliosis and PRECICE technology for limb lengthening.
     
  • Orthofix launched JuniOrtho, a new brand to house services (apps, games, education tools) and products that treat pediatric orthopaedic and congenital deformities, including the TL HEX TrueLok Hexapod system and Guided Growth plates.
     
  • OrthoPediatrics launched a new distal femoral osteotomy system.
     
  • WishBone Medical formed and announced planned launch of single use, disposable implants and instruments for foot and ankle, trauma, spine and sports medicine indications.


Pega, OrthoPediatrics and WishBone are the only three companies focused solely on pediatrics, by our account. Other device companies that offer products in this space and exhibited at EPOSNA include Arthrex, DePuy Synthes, EOS Imaging, K2M, Merete Medical, Smith & Nephew, Stryker and Zimmer Biomet.

Spine and trauma products make up the majority of the market. The worldwide spine pediatric market is estimated to be between $500 million and $600 million, according to Deeter. Orthofix leadership estimates the pediatric trauma market at about $600 million, split in half between the U.S. and ex-U.S.

In speaking with Deeter about his reasons for starting a second orthopaedic pediatric company, he pointed to several drivers:

  • Surgeon demand: The orthopaedic pediatric market is underserved, he says, emphasizing the numbers in the U.S. alone. There are nearly 3,700 hospitals in the U.S. that perform orthopaedic surgery on children, 268 of which are standalone children’s hospitals. Surgeons seek anatomically-appropriate implants for children.
     
  • Parent demand: Millennials are becoming parents. The generation is educated, Internet- and product-savvy, Deeter says. He predicts that they will research and choose anatomically correct products.
     
  • New segment demand: Today, children specialize in sports, Deeter pointed out. More sports repetition injuries are taking place, including ACL tears, but few device companies offer product lines for sports medicine or arthroscopy/soft tissue.


The rate of growth for the orthopaedic pediatric market will be contingent on several factors, including the ability of the solely-pediatric-focused companies to keep up with demand and sell surgeons and patients on their products, as well as expansion into underserved market segments and countries. If these companies prove success in this niche, they could become prime acquisition targets for larger companies seeking entry into new markets.

Carolyn LaWell is Chief Content Officer at ORTHOWORLD. She can be reached by email.