Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spine Technology Summit

Like many of our readers, our investigative team of industry sources were surfing the internet and examining the many websites and portals that exist for the spine industry. No readers, we haven't found John Malkovich, yet, but I did see John Cusack yesterday. What struck our fancy was OTW's advertisement on their website for the 5th Annual Spine Technology Summt. As usual, we will give RY a plug, the meeting will be held April 26th, in the city named after Phillippe II, Duc d'Orleans. Registration is $750 dollars, and compared to an annual marketing report, this is well worth attending if you are looking to keep your hand on the pulse of the industry. TSB has attended this meeting since its inception, yet, this year's meeting is showing signs of a lagging economy. Regardless what some analysts are predicting, there is a lack of start-up or early growth-stage companies that always claim to have novel or emerging technologies. If there ever was a venue to exhibit your hardware and software this is the venue.

Outside of a few technologies, it has become apparent that innovation is being bred by the mid-to-large cap companies within the industry. This year we will miss Disc Dynamics, Innovative Surgical Technologies and Vertebron (thank heavens we won't have to sit through another presentation by Bruce Khalili on Total Joint Kinematics). Yes, readers there still are some stranglers. These include Disc Motion Technologies (How long has this been goin' on), X-Spine with the Capless Pedicle Screw (I thought they had problems with that screw), and Mazor (they've been around so long my children have grown up).

Oh where, oh where are those so-called "Others?" Where is Amedica, Atlas, Eminent, Lanx, Captiva Spine, Custom Spine, Vertiloc, Vertecor, Spine 360, Spineology TruFuse, etc., etc., and so on? Weren't these the companies that as recent as a few years ago claimed that they have something novel or emerging? Why isn't Robin doing a segment on Facet Fusion with dowels? If there ever was a controversial and debatable topic in spine, this would be the perfect forum to discuss, outcomes, selection criteria and retrospective data.

Do we have to sit through another Scott Blumenthal presentation? No offense Scott, but been there, done that. So in the spirit of debate, TSB wants to know what our readers think?


  1. Please note that the agenda published on the STS Website is LAST YEAR'S agenda. This may anwer some of your questions. I think the registration is still open.

    Dear all i want to shere with you about what upon in the small cuntry that call Isare.
    We have a big company taht have 40% market share but tjhe take the market because the reduce the prices and the distroy every thing good i will give you exampel
    1 level Fusion with Tilf Cage 1400$ Medtronic Price
    Outer Company 2200$
    1 Level Sextant 1250$ Medtronic Price
    Outer Company 2400$
    Scoliosis with Neuro Monitor 12 screw to 16 screw 4000$ Medtronic price
    Outer Company 5000$ to 7000$ without Monitor

    Even with this prices in Israel there is 6 more company that sale and leave good,
    But the Big Sharck can not stand that they dont have a 100% MS with this funny prices.
    they give thus prices like rhey are some company from Pakistan or India and not US company

  3. For those companies that haven't registered, now's the time to back up all that big talk about your novel and emerging technologies. Enough with hiding behind the curtain claiming you need capital. If you can't raise the cash after this meeting, you don't have anything worth while.

    PS: Thanks Robin for giving us the update on the Agenda

  4. There are FAR TOO MANY spine meetings. Some just need to go away.

  5. TSB: To be perfectly frank, I am completely unimpressed with all the jabs you throw at spine companies trying to make a name for themselves. It's also quite obvious where you biases lie. I've read a plehtora of posts denigrating the spine/ortho conference industry in general yet this latest post appears to be nothing less than a shameless plug for Robin Young's services. Your loyalty (or tacit affiliation for that matter) to him is disgustingly obvious, and to compare them (now twice) to marketing reports, something completely unrelated to conferences, is irrelevant at best and illogical at worst.

    It's amazing how the veil of anonymity brings out the absolute worst in people. I dare you to talk to surgeons the way you do here at AAOS when you can't hide behind the moniker "spinebloger".

    You justify your obvious disdain for companies who have tried and failed (aren't we all just trying to make a living here?) by saying these companies would have been better off if they had committed themselves more to innovation than marketing efforts. You know what? Success is a combination of hard work, innovation, and luck. Most of these failed companies had achieved 2 out of the 3 aforementioned recipes for success. Insteading of applauding their efforts you are quick to judge - it's easy to be an armchair critic. If you are so self-righteous, have you ever led a start-up spine company from R&D to commercialization with sustained success? I would guess not, but if so, I'd love for you to correct me.

    Your first reaction might be that I'm a hypocrite because I haven't identified myself, but I guess it takes one to know one. In the "spirit of debate" as you so eloquently put it, let others chime in on what I've wrote, as I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.

  6. Amen, a bunch of narcissistic engineers, would be entrepreneurs and bombastic surgeons listening to each other telling the same tired old stories, and clapping each other on the back. In this particular case they are brought together by the Chief Sycophant, who is making good coin out of it. This is one of the meetings that should go away.

  7. Regarding emerging technology, we might miss some possibly innovative products by small foreign companies that did not show up in that meeting, such as,

  8. I completely agree with Anonymous's lengthy post on what this site has turned into.

    Per TSB:

    "If you can't raise cash after this meeting, you have nothing worth while".

    What a short-sighted, burned-out view of not only the industry, but the world. I mean, if you can't raise money in one of the worst economies in the last 50 years based off a 30 minute presentation at a meeting and 2 days of networking, and because TSB says so...go ahead and QUIT! Because that's how we push through bad times and make industries and economies better...we listen to crybabies.

    With all the crying about me-too products (which any economists worth his salt will tell you is good for industries and consumers), we forget that these are REAL people behind REAL products who are busting tail to make a living and do something good. Is patient care getting worse or better??? BETTER!!!

    As to this meeting, go to it or don't. If there are too many meetings, the free market will sort it out and some will go away...they are expensive to put on and won't last if there is no demand.

    And TSB, I am pretty sure someone could come out with an interbody spacer made of fairy dust that magically reconstructs the spine to its original healthy functioning state, and you would ask your readers "is this REALLY innovative???" Spare us the commentary.

  9. Robin Young = Scott Blumenthal

  10. First of all Mr. Anonymous 1:55

    I am not throwing jabs at spine companies attempting to make it. I am throwing jabs at companies that claim to develop novel or emerging technology only to find out its another me too product, or, their idea is not feasible.

    If your definition of emerging technology is developing the 506th pedicle screw, 216th cervical plate, another PLIF, TLIF, ALIF or ACIF device then you are attempting to convince the market that you're serving chicken cordon bleu, when you're serving up chicken shit. I have no loyalty to Robin Young, just doing my public service. Besides, why do you care if I give Robin a plug? I may not agree with everything Robin does, but let's face facts, before Robin surfaced what platform existed for us expose the innovators from the imitators? As for market reports, tell me the difference between a 2008 and 2009 report? Is the market that dynamic? Are you willing to pay $5,000-$7,500 per report every year, only to be told the same thing over and over again? I guess, you don't believe in Einstein's definition of insanity.

    As for hard work, innovation, and luck, well let's just say that there is a fundamental difference between working hard and working smart. Before you can have luck, you need innovation. Let's use Vertebron as an example, where was the innovation? Another pedicle screw? Another cervical plate? More PEEK? How about IST. How does one justify spending investors capital as frivolously as that organization did? Maybe part of the challenge is that when you don't have your own skin in the game, you act irresponsibly, BECAUSE ITS SOMEONE ELSE'S MONEY.

    Maybe, I can elaborate on these issues because I have worked with and for the winners and I have seen why those that fail are losers, been there and done that, and that may say more than you have to offer. But, like I have said, you have every right to your opinion, and if you don't like what TSB writes, it's your prerogative not to read our blog. Besides, what do you think this is grammar school, or your kids T-Ball league. Everybody can't be a winner, and since when did any of us ever applaud failure? Oops, I apologize you must be from the entitlement generation.

  11. To the anonymous commentator that stated this is the worst economy in 50 years, there are plenty of us investors looking for THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY but I must agree with TSB if you can't sell me with your presentation and elevator pitch at a meeting that investors respect, then you really don't have any worth while technology. For your information there is plenty of capital available, we're just not buy your industrys BS anymore.

  12. Anonymous155 here:

    TSB - I read your blog to keep abreast of varying opinions in the industry, particularly when my company is involved (and defend it if fallacious comments are made). While I appreciate the avenue you have created, the increase in readership (and I believe the entertainment value of your blog makes it deserved) gives you the privelege of bashing defenseless companies without repercussion, which is a privelege I believe you have abused.

    I will address points of your post succinctly for the sake of your readers:

    "convince the market you are serving chicken..."

    I can probably talk your ear off listing the spine companies who have gainfully employed many talented, well-educated US citizens based on a me-too product portfolio. Globus? Alphatec Spine? (regardless of the fate of this company they are still generating revenue year after year without curtailing operations)

    "why do you care if I give Robin Young a plug"

    I don't. But I do find it wildly amusing that you have excoriated every other conference to no end in many of your previous posts but goad your readers to attend RY's meetings.

    "market reports"

    You and I clearly buy these for disparate purposes. How well are you doing with your 2008 report after the 2009 pummeling of the Vetertobroplasty market? Maybe these reports aren't an incorrigible crystal ball, but who are you to question my efforts in trying to understand my market and customers?


    OK, maybe we agree on something.

    "Maybe, I can elaborate on these issues because I have worked with and for the winners and I have seen why those that fail are losers, been there and done that, and that may say more than you have to offer."

    I guess this holier-than-thou attitude is the fuel behind your caustic fire. There are a lot of us experienced industry experts out here who have also been through the trials and tribulations of this industry. Unless you are Mr. Sendro, I don't know how valid your "I have worked with...I have seen" argument is.

  13. Anonymous155 here again:

    Correction: I meant Mr. Bennett. Was on a different train of thought.

  14. Anonymous 1:55:

    The beauty of our blog is that people like yourself have the ability to be heard, defend yourself, and if you choose, not to follow, or read the blog. Like any "self-righteous" person, I respect your opinion. I created a venue that is informative, analyzes industry activity, is tongue-in-cheek entertaining, critical, and honest based on the information that we receive on a daily basis. Everyone has the ability to rebut TSB's or another reader's opinion. If you couldn't, you wouldn't be reading the posts. It stimulates discussion, something that the other platforms do not. I am democratic and respect my readers opinions because I do not delete any post that is critical of TSB, in addition, we make our best effort to delete any post that is caustic, abusive, or stoops to the level of bringing someone's family into the mix, witness by the many comments that were recently posted about a Stryker employee and deleted.

    By the way, how do you know if I wasn't taking the skin off the onion writing this post? Sometimes you have to read what TSB writes and not what you think. But that's an argument for a different day.

    By the way, if you really believe that I am "holier than thou" you really don't know me. You know what I always sing, "it's my party and I could cry if I want to...." Thanks and keep on reading.

  15. Anonymous155 & BioExec858: I agree with you both! This blog has turned into a bashing of everyone/everything in the industry. I only read for the chuckle-factor of hearing what disgruntled, has-been sales reps cry about.

  16. it's a blog, just don't read it. That's your right.

  17. Anonymous

    If you don't like the blog, don't read it. It's America where do you think we live the Soviet Union.

  18. There was a press release yesterday. Looks like the following companies are presenting:

    Alphatec Spine, Inc.
    Amedica Corporation
    Anulex Technologies, Inc.
    Applied Spine Technologies, Inc.
    Axial Biotech
    Beringea, LLC
    Disc Motion Technologies
    Eden Spine, LLC
    Impliant, Inc.
    Integra Spine
    Interventional Spine, Inc.
    LifeSpine, Inc.
    Magellan Spine Technologies, Inc.
    NuVasive, Inc.
    OrthoKinematics, Inc.
    Pioneer Surgical Technology, Inc.
    Ranier Technology Limited
    Replication Medical
    SpineAlign Medical, Inc
    SpineGuard, Inc.
    TranS1, Inc.
    VertiFlex, Inc.
    X-Spine Systems, Inc.

  19. To the venture community, do some real due diligence this time and just don’t take the pitch for what it’s worth.

  20. Robin Young Responds,
    First of all, the aggravating but great part of TSB is that he is a equal opportunity skewer of inflated egos and BS people, technology and companies. He's stuck the knife in me once or twice. To me, TSB says things that many of us think but won't verbalize. He also gives a forum - which we need. Alright, he's either the Sam Kinison or Don Rickles of our industry.

    One more thing. Thanks for the plugs for the Spine Tech Summit, but I basically sold that meeting to P&M Finance a year ago. They run the meeting and I share podium duties with Bryan Hughes. He puts the meeting together. Think of it as a form of the Bill Plavonic's Canacord Adams meeting.

    My focus these days is the publication, building the largest database of patient records in the U.S. and diving into the future of biologics. Honestly, biologics has me way more exicted than spine.

    The next 3-5 years are going to be tough, tough, tough in spine. My opinion.

    Best to all and let the arrows fly.
    Determindly NOT anonymous - Robin