By Liz White, ERJ staff
San Diego, California-US medical device maker NuVasive Inc. has bought the technology and assets of Pearsalls Ltd, a privately owned UK firm which makes a replacement device for spinal surgery called Neodisc.
Based on a silicone rubber core-in an 'embroidered' jacket with flanges for fixing in place-the Neodisc offers NuVasive the potential to be the first in the US market with a nucleus-like device designed to preserve motion in the cervical region of the spine.
The device fills the gap between pre-surgical treatment and total disc replacement or spine fusion.
San Diego-based NuVasive itself focuses on developing products for minimally disruptive surgical treatments for the spine.
The market for devices such as the Neodisc-which preserve cervical motion-has been forecast to exceed $1000 million by 2011, said Nuvasive, which believes that Neodisc will be attractive for a broad range of spine conditions. The process is easily revisable and involves relatively simple surgery.
In NuVasive's statement on the deal, the firm said it believes the device's potential for treating patients earlier in the degenerative process make it "an attractive surgical option."
NuVasive will seek FDA approval for commercialisation of the Neodisc and anticipates filing an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) application in the fourth quarter of 2005. Neodisc could be commercially available in Europe as early as 2007 and commercialised in the US by 2010, said the firm.
The Pearsalls buy will cost NuVasive $12 million, plus additional payments when certain milestones leading to FDA approval are achieved. These could add up to $31.5 million in cash and stock. NuVasive will also pay a royalty of 5 percent on sales of the Neodisc product.
As part of the transaction, NuVasive also acquired all of Pearsalls' intellectual property related to embroidery technology for use in surgical implants.