Looks like there will be a Stay of Execution Party being held around the pool next week in Duck Key, Florida. No fellow bloggers, the Governor of Connecticut did not step up to stay the inevitable execution of Applied Spine Technologies. A holding company by the name of Rachiotek, LLC has stepped in and acquired whatever assets, meaning the intellectual property, for the Stabilimax. Hopefully Oxford BioSciences, BioVentures Investors, Investor Growth Capital, DeNovo, MB Ventures, and InterWest Partners will take their pennies on the dollar and run. Run as fast as you can and don't look back. The unfortunate aspect of this venture was that a great guy like Dr. Panjabi, the preeminent authority on spine biomechanics, was doomed for failure from the get go. If there ever was someone that you would "pull for" it would be Panjabi.
The one aspect about the former management team at Applied Spine was that they did a wonderful job of spending money in addition to the cost of running an IDE. This company never had any internal continuity outside of Terry Brennan. If anything it was a management team of musical chairs. Yet, there must be some inherent value to this IP, but many question remain unanswered. With declining reimbursements due to an uncertain healthcare environment in the the U.S., and additional questions about the clinical efficacy of this technology, will this ever be the market that many expected it to be? The challenge with most of these ventures is that the inventor entrusted their child (the IP) to a group of people that did not understand the magnitude of commitment to this project. A nanny cam would have served the investors well in keeping tabs on the day to day operations at AST. Outside of the few people that remain from the original cast, most of these people were like rats on a ship. Every engineer that TSB spoke with frowned upon the potential success of this product, and those were product development engineers that were being honest about their evaluations. As one designer commented, "there is a distinction between hope and reality." How quickly have we forgotten about other products that were marketed, and destined for success in the dynamic stabilization market? And, how much money went to naught? Up until a few years ago, companies were investing time and money, or had high hopes of introducing a new dynamic stabilization system to the market, only to close the doors on their future?
So TSB must ask our readers, is there any hope for this technology? Did Rachiotek really get a deal, or did they buy some technology that truly is a dead man walking? TSB wants to know what our bloggers think?