Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust?

Spine Nation:

Rumors are swirling, if not accurate, that Hydrocision is no longer the Hydrocision we've come to know and love. It has been reported that the company, and whatever technology remains, was acquired by an outside group of investors. What is more troubling is the fact that this transaction lacked the pomp and circumstance that many in the industry anticipated. Seems like the well must have finally dried up for a once promising product. If true, TSB wonders how bad was the multiple on a company that probably generated $3-$5 million in sales, and TSB is being generous with those figures. And that my friends is revenue after five years.

In all likelihood, it was a fire sale. Fire sales are usually preceded by constant turnover in management, downsizing, a lack of operating capital, and lack of direction. Just look at the website, there really hasn't been any activity or maintenance on their site since 2009. The patient lingered for many years battling financial, clinical, and reimbursement issues. Maybe there will be some lessons learned, but then again, that would be wishful thinking. As Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. If the Board was providing oversight, it should return its Board Fees. Sometimes it makes you wonder.

"Are you happy, are you satisfied, How long can you stand the heat, Out of the doorway the bullets rip, to the sound of the beat,.....Another one bites the dust, Another one bites the dust."


  1. Its somewhat similar to Arthrocare. The lesson learned? When adding cost to a relatively successful procedure (e.g. discectomy) you better have a clear benefit to the patient. Same can be said for a less successful surgery (e.g. fusion). In either case, you need rigorous clinical data to support your product. The problem with discectomy is that SpineJet is a tool for "surgical" discectomy, which works pretty well without SpineJet. How do you justify the incremental cost? The problem with fusion is that it is a multi-factorial clusterf*ck. Can you prove that waterpicking the endplates is going to lead to a higer fusion rate? Unfortunately, that doesn't correlate closely to outcomes- so what do you have. Its a tough one.

    The 510k pathway may be quick, historically, but clinical data will rule the day. Be smart when doing your diligence and planning. Recognize that you need clinical data to drive adoption and payment- and that the cost of entry is relatively high. Given that, you better have a high degree of confidence that your product can demonstrate that clear benefit with your trial. Might want more than a napkin sketch.

    The silver lining is, if you have that supporting data and can reduce cost and/or make people 'feel better' then the valuations will be large. Might as well recognize that this is a high stakes game and invest appropriately.

  2. Used to rep their product. Can't speak for their mgmt and I agree that fusion procedures are overdone. Some docs I work with called it a waterpick but it had a sharp end that worked on the endplates. The water was for cutting and taking out the disc. I agree with TSB that it was promising. Yeah website still sucks. Most docs I know who used it liked it but the company couldn't get their act together so we parted ways. I just googled it to be sure but wasn't Arthrocare what the pain docs used?

  3. Bet if you ask Doug Daniels, he'll still tell you that "everything is great" and that great wealth and success is "just around the corner". never have so few pissed away so much so quickly.

  4. Is this company still in business?