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The Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference: A Pop-Up Think Tank That Delivers in a Storm: Session Two

by Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed.

Now in its 18th year, on October 23, the Musculoskeletal New Ventures (MNVC) will host session two of its 2020 conference in a two-hour online session. Attendees will benefit from insider insights on the orthopedic market and details on new and emerging therapies and diagnostics delivered by a robust mix of investment bankers, Wall Street analysts, venture capitalists, business development specialists, and entrepreneurs.

Hosting the MNVC for the 18th year is Gary Stevenson, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of MB Venture Partners. “In prioritizing the safety of our community by bringing our event online, we have essentially made it available to many more attendees. For the first time, interested parties can access the wisdom of an “inner circle” in the orthopedic field from the comfort of their home or office.”

On the agenda for October 23, 2020:

  • Canaccord Genuity — Kyle Rose
  • 7D Surgical — Beau Standish and Steve Martin
  • Paragon 28 — Albert DaCosta and Matt Jarboe
  • Carlsmed — Mike Cordonnier and Sharon Schulzki
  • Embody — Jeff Conroy and Rob Brown

“The four presenting companies in Session 2 offer a nice blend of early and late-stage start-ups,” says Stevenson. “There is also a diverse mix by segment, with surgical navigation, extremities, spine, and sports medicine on the agenda. Two of the companies have presented at MNVC before and two have not. We are covering a lot of territory in Session 2.”

“We’re excited to have Kyle Rose from Canaccord Genuity presenting at the MNVC for the first time. Kyle is one of the most widely followed equity research analysts covering the musculoskeletal industry. We look forward to his insights, especially with so much happening in our industry.”

Rose, Managing Director of Healthcare Equity Research at Canaccord Genuity, says he is looking forward to discussing what is important to public investors at the moment. “That includes the very eventful year we have had,” states Rose. “We want to delve into this through the lens of the larger public companies as well as how public company investors have thought about 2020 as related to orthopedic and medical devices.”

“I hope to contribute to the discussion with in-depth information on COVID-19 and how the device industry has responded to the pandemic. There are several underlying trends that were underway before the virus struck that may accelerate the shift of procedures to the ASC outpatient setting.”

“For one, we are seeing an incremental focus on data analytics and data capture. The MedTech space is a fee-for-service reimbursement model, so if there are no surgeries then no one gets paid—not the hospitals, not the companies, no one…hence our increasing focus on what is possible in the realm of telemedicine.”

Also on the panel is Mike Cordonnier, CEO and Co-Founder of Carlsmed, a company with a proprietary digital and surgical solution for spine surgery. “Our mission is to simplify treatment for patients with debilitating spine conditions, improve outcomes, and decrease the overall cost of healthcare. To accomplish this much needed objective, we start with the optimal surgical plan for the patient, review with the surgeon, and then create the exact implants needed to achieve the approved surgical plan.”

“While this may seem like common sense, this is a completely new approach to spine surgery. Traditional interbody fusion devices today are used as spacers, but do not conform to the patient’s anatomy or correct the three-dimensional deformity. As is widely published, there is a clinical need to improve the standard of care for complex spine surgery.”

So, says Cordonnier, they studied the massive amounts of existing complex spine surgery data.

“We use data on the outcomes of thousands of patients to create the optimal, personalized treatment for each patient.  Our workflow is to give the plan to the surgeon for review, he or she approves it or suggests modifications…and from that plan we create patient-specific interbody fusion devices.”

Describing Carlsmed’s machine learning, he notes, “Complex spine surgery is an ideal application for Machine Learning, as patient specific design parameters can be correlated to outcomes and continually improve the surgical planning engine in a closed loop manner.”

Joining Mike Cordonnier on the panel is the COO of Carlsmed, Sharon Schulzki, who says, “Ours is a transformative, first-ever technology for a patient population that deserves better—adults with a spinal deformity. These patients are faced with complication rates in the range of 60-70% and revision rates of 20-30%, while their friends who undergo a total hip surgery rarely have complications and are enjoying active lives.”

“Carlsmed’s work is especially relevant because forecasts indicate that surgery for adult spinal deformity will increase 88% by 2030 and over 140% by 2040. The high rate of complications and revisions, along with the associated costs, is unsustainable. Additionally, it’s important that patients be encouraged to seek timely treatment because treating patients who have a moderate disability before they progress to a greater level of debilitation reduces the risk of serious adverse events and improves outcomes.”

Detailing how they stand out from the roughly 800 FDA-cleared interbody cages on the market, Schulzki states, “Unlike existing technologies, the aprevo™ patient specific devices provide correction to height, length, width, front to back angulation, and left to right angulation. Also, while young individuals may have a smooth vertebral endplate, the endplates of older individuals can have numerous irregularities and defects, somewhat resembling the surface of the moon. Even though this is just a common component of normal aging, these defects are poorly visualized with diagnostic imaging. Having a personalized cage that conforms to the endplate anatomy at each fusion level improves load distribution and reduces stress concentration, both of which are important for reduced complications and improved outcomes.”

On the sports medicine front, panelist Jeff Conroy, CEO of Embody will outline details on their technology and vision. “We are building a company that is leveraging the power of collagen-based implants and biomaterials to create a new standard of care for tendon and ligament injuries such as rotator cuff and Achilles heel conditions.”

Citing milestones left and right, Conroy says, “Starting with our Tapestry® Biointegrative Implant, we are set to launch four products over the next three years. One major differentiator is that we have funded the company with over $20 million in non-dilutive funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. Whether addressing the needs of elite fighters with training injuries or those of a weekend warrior, we are doing our utmost to bring a new approach to treatment—with a focus on biologics’ role in healing.”

“And we understand that this isn’t just about implant technology…it’s about facilitating instrumented surgical procedures that are fast and simple—all while having an eye on the economic realities. We anticipate our first surgical cases in November.”

So join us at the MNVC…where new ventures come alive.

To register for the second of the four “pop-up think tanks” on October 23, please visit:

Future sessions: November 13, November 20.

Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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