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SHS is investing in Blue Ocean Spine, a medtech firm based in Tuttlingen, Germany, and specializing in functional spinal implants

January 12, 2020- Portfolio News, SHS News

  • The Tübingen-based medtech investor SHS is investing in Blue Ocean Spine GmbH, a developer for 3D-printed spinal implants
  • Blue Ocean Spine is developing a portfolio of new spinal implants that can be precisely adapted to patient needs in situ or administered without additional means of fixation such as screws
  • For Guntmar Eisen, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Blue Ocean Spine, this marks what is already the second collaboration with SHS

SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement mbH, of Tübingen, Germany, is the lead investor in Blue Ocean Spine GmbH, a Tuttlingen, Germany-based specialist for functional spinal implants. This marks the second collaboration for SHS and the founder of Blue Ocean Spine, Guntmar Eisen, following a successful investment in EIT Emerging Implant Technologies GmbH which has been acquired by an international medtech corporate in 2018. In contrast to conventional cage implants for use in the intervertebral spaces, implants by Blue Ocean Spine will permit surgeons to eliminate additional screw connections. Surgeons will also be freed from the need to maintain an inventory of a large number of implant variations in different sizes and dimensions. This will make operations more efficient for surgeons and safer for patients.

In Western societies, backaches rank among the most widespread forms of pain. While most back complaints nowadays are treated conservatively, i.e. with medicines and physical therapy, there are also severe degenerative diseases – usually accompanied by instability of the spine – that can only be treated with surgery.

A stiffening implant is usually used to stabilize the spine. The intervertebral disc spacer, the so-called “cage”, is implanted and fixed between the vertebrae. In most cases, additional stabilization is provided using screws and systems of rods.

An innovative, customizable spinal implant

Guntmar Eisen, an experienced engineer, and his company Blue Ocean Spine of Tuttlingen, Germany, are now developing a portfolio of innovative, functional and adaptable cage systems – with some of these implants able to get by without any additional screw fixation at all.

“Blue Ocean Spine systems are next-generation cage implants,” according to Patrick Frohnheiser, Investment Manager at SHS. “They make interventions quicker and safer. We are convinced that these systems will prevail, and we intend to assist Blue Ocean Spine with equity and our broad network.”

The range of implants by Blue Ocean Spine are manufactured using 3D printing. This results in considerable cost savings over competitor systems. So-called “expandable cages” are independently adjustable in terms of height, width and lumbar angle. Until now, a clinic had to maintain a range of rigid cage implants in different versions for different patients. This is complicated and costly. The new generation of Blue Ocean spine cages, on the other hand, will significantly reduce these costs in the future. Other models from the Blue Ocean Spine portfolio feature integrated anchors that a surgeon can securely fix between a patient’s vertebrae in just a few steps. This favors minimally invasive access techniques. In some cases, additional screw connections are rendered obsolete altogether.

Continuing a successful partnership

“We are delighted to have SHS back on board as an experienced industry investor. Now we can work at full steam to develop and manufacture our innovative cage implants,” according to company founder Guntmar Eisen, who has been working on behalf of spinal surgery for more than 25 years and has already started and sold a number of innovative firms. “If all goes according to plan, by 2022 we will apply for FDA approval in the US, which is the largest market for spinal implants.”

“Guntmar Eisen is one of Germany’s most successful entrepreneurs in the field of medical technology. We are very much looking forward to continuing this partnership in a spirit of mutual trust. Blue Ocean Spine is an excellent addition, with a great deal of potential for our fifth fund generation,” according to Dr. Bernhard Schirmers, Managing Partner at SHS.

About SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement mbH:

SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement is based in Tuebingen, Germany, and invests in medical technology and life science companies with a focus on expansion financing, changes in shareholder structures and successor situations. SHS holds minority as well as majority interests. The company was founded in 1993 and has since gained extensive experience as an industry investor which supports the growth of its portfolio companies through a network of partnerships regarding the introduction of new products, regulatory issues or entering new markets. The SHS fund’s European based investors include pension funds, strategic investors, funds of funds, family offices, entrepreneurs and the SHS management team. The AIFM-registered company invests up to €30 million in equity capital and volumes exceeding this amount are implemented with a network of co-investors. SHS is currently investing from its fifth fund which received capital commitments of more than €130 million.
Further information: http://www.shs-capital.eu/en/

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About Blue Ocean Spine GmbH:

Blue Ocean Spine GmbH, based in Tuttlingen, Germany, develops and markets innovative, functional spinal implants to support minimally invasive fusion techniques in spine surgery. The company uses additive manufacturing technology to combine better functionality and product differentiation with cost efficiency. Expandable fusion cage designs allow for better adaptation to the patients individual anatomy and precise restoration of segmental height and realignment of the spinal curvature. Clinical inventory is thereby significantly reduced. Integrated deployable anchors in ALIF and lateral fusion cages, support minimally invasive surgery approaches to the spine and allow for secure fixation in the intervertebral space without additional fixation.
Visit http://www.blueoceanspine.com for more information.

PR contact:
Regine Hujer
SHS Gesellschaft für Beteiligungsmanagement mbH
Bismarckstrasse 12
72072 Tuebingen tuebingen@shs-capital.eu

Norbert Kraas
cc@shs-capital.eu
+49 172 8061014

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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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