Monday, March 7, 2011

That Was The Week That Was

Good Morning Fellow Bloggers:

TSB took a little time off from the spine world to help a friend with his addiction to a certain drug and young women.  You know what Dirty Harry once said, "a man's got to know his limitations."   So, we're glad to be back on the beat, nothing is more refreshing than the exciting world of market makers, consulting agreements, physician owned distributorships and crazy people.  Sherman Oaks is a nice town, but it was time to get out of Dodge.

Last week was an interesting week in spine.  It started off with The Stem Cell Summit in the Big Apple.  The meeting was a Stem Cell extravaganza, led by no other than self-proclaimed stem cell guru and investor Robin Young. What we learned from this meeting is that there has been tremendous advancement in the field of stem cells, especially in aiding in bone growth and fusion.  As a sidebar to our readers, is there anything that a spine surgeon wouldn't try, to achieve fusion?  Despite these advancements, there is still much work to be done in understand the efficacy of stem cells.  But if you attended the meeting, well,  it was another meeting, and at those prices it made NYC look affordable.  Robin continues his quest to be acknowledged as a pioneer in stem cells, all that was missing was the covered wagons.  But let's get serious, stem cells buzz like neon, but will they ever burn away?   There were about twenty companies.  Considering that stem cells are cheaper than BMP, yet more expensive than DBM, they must be a bargin? At least BMP's have some retrospective papers on its efficacy in spine.   So where's the beef?  Special kudos must go out to the Mod Squad, those are Robin's minions whom without their hard work, these meeting would never take place,  hopefully y'all will get a raise this year.

Other news last week: we received multiple e-mails from the Street with word that Amedica might have raised some capital, if so, TSB would like to know who was crazy enough to invest into another company that is riding the future on silicon nitride?  $30 million?  That 's crazy money.  If so, could hookers, limos and Grey Goose be in the picture?  If there is truth to the rumor, it would behoove investors to keep a tight reign on their money. Considering the sales management team was given unrealistic revenue objectives for fiscal 2011, something could be brewing.  But then again, what do the people running this operation know about selling spine products?  If Globus has had trouble going public, does anyone really believe that Amedica has the legs to do it?  Everyone in the investment community knows that Shappley's goal is to take the company public.

It was also announced that as of March 7th, hmmmmm that must be today, Bacterin will begin trading shares of common stock under the symbol "BONE," very original,  on the NYSE Amex.  For those of you not familiar with Bacterin, they are "the creators and developers of revolutionary bone grafting material," taking the market by storm.  It will be interesting in continuing our watch of this revolutionary company, let's see what the investors believe, will they be desperate or will they exhibit prudence in their choices?

In other news, the state of Ohio provided AxioMed with a $500,000 loan to help the company in its quest to bring a cervical disc to the marketplace vis-a-vis the Ohio Third Frontier, a government sponsored organization (I thought the government was bad) that seeks new technologies through innovation that could result in creating new jobs for the state.  TSB thought that Ohio was having budgetary problems? So the pressure is on AxioMed to give back something of substance in the near future to the hard working people of the  Buckeye State.  Jobs are where its at, so let's give a hand to at least one spine company that's not looking to send development and manufacturing overseas.

So remember fellow readers keep those post cards and memo's coming.  Have a great week!

49 comments:

  1. So, If stem cells are priced better and backed by peer reviewed journals and some clinical data, I think Robin young is betting on the right thing.
    Going public in this market is close to impossible, or the company should not expect much out of the IPO. But i guess companies are hoping for the reimbursement environment to be better.
    As far as Ohio state's betting on discs goes, I think it may be worth in long run. The disc technology has not picket up yet. They face big reimbursement problems and doubtful outcome. However, few recent journal articles have shown that disc surgeries cost less than a 360 degree fusion using ALIF+posterior instrumentation with BMP. If cost is driving spinecare, discs may be at advantage in long run, if the outcome is somewhat satisfactory, especially in younger patients who want normal mobility and no adjacent segment disease.

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  2. Which peer review journals in spine

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  3. TSB I believe that the money you're talking about was a loan, but its crazy money or did Amedica just give the company away? If I were lending these clowns any money I would definitely want something in return especially if the loan is worth more than the valuation of the company.

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  4. Two comments:

    1. Robin Young's Stem Cell Summit-a-looza. Been to it twice. Always loved Robin's thoughtful post-presentation commentary which reassured me that there were no bad ideas, and (definitely) no bad presenters. But in the shapeless morass of stem cells for spine (commercially speaking), it's a little like picking sides in a mid-east revolution: 'why don't we all just wait to see how this shakes out before we start telling people their baby's ugly.' Hopefully my intentional absence has been at the behest of substance over form.

    But like an industry vet once advised me, 'son, find a parade, and jump in front of it'. Can't say that advice ever sat well with me, but I can only wonder what could have been had I embraced it.

    2. I know it wasn't, perhaps, relevant to the "week that was", but did I miss TSB's 'man of the people' analysis on Medtronic pulling out of Novation and Premier?!

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  5. Role the dice- because a make-or-buy analysis was not taken into affect on this 500k loan for used machinery & equipment? Their disc is not even on the market. Hmmm. Ohio taxpayers will just have to #dealwithit.

    -Just a blog-

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  6. I agree, Would love to see everyones thoughts on Medtronic pulling out of their contracts. Will others follow? Seems to me that the local hospitals do a better job of policing themselves with or without a GPO. Unless it is a specific chain of hospitals like HCA. And even then there is always wiggle room.

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  7. Stem cells, really?? Kind of reminds me of Al Gore promoting Global Warming, its a big hoax. There is no way that frozen cancellous graft is no better than DBM, but costs a ton more, its a big marketing scam with tons of $$$ involved bottom line. On another note, I was glad to see Medtronic stepping up to the plate and dropping their agreements with Novation. If the government really wants to investigate somebody, go after the gpo's who are all about the $$$ and not the so-called lower costs bs they promote.

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  8. Demineralization of cancellous bone. Wow that is a revolutionary idea. Donor tissue - check. Band Saw - check. Acid - check. Pail/tub/sink/vat - check. So innovative that over 10 companies are doing it. Bacteria...er bacterin is a joke

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  9. At some point Bacterin will have to disclose their 2010 financial results and defend the projected "$50 million in sales" goal.

    They have yet to do so.

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  10. Another half a mil from the broke state of Ohio--at least its a loan. There has been a total of around $50 mil invested in a 10 year old company who has yet to market a product--is McBrayer going to be the next Scott Schorer?

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  11. hey 1034 is he still one of delrussos chosen ones at Alphatec. Nice article, nice person, nice company.

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  12. Lets get a real thread of the Medtronic / GPO situation developing.... What does it mean, where are things heading for the industry, will others step in and profit/ capitalize, etc.

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  13. I believe Medtronic found that it wasnt worth paying the GPO's a percentage of sales to be on the contracts and they had enough clout to go into any hospital and negotiate pricing and they didnt need the gpo's, way to go Medtronic.

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  14. I heard Depuy walked away from a GPO too. Balsy, even though they're number 2, they don't have near the size of MSD. Maybe I'm wrong, either way it helps us little guys.

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  15. Medtronic rarely ever utilized the GPO contracts but rather created a separate "LNC" and still reported the sales. They got smart and tired of paying the fees. Funny thing is that most hospitals in the know will ask for that discount to be directly passed on to them. Mass layoff's, Regional office closings, reduced commissions...can't win for losing.
    But what did you expect with the new King at the helm.

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  16. Any word on which divisions will be affected by the layoffs? A few guys in my territory that I wouldn't mind leaving.

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  17. What spinal company has the best educational and training programs? How can a new companies do it better?

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  18. By learning how to communicate in english 5:16

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  19. Hey 5:54 It's English. The blind leading the illiterate.

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  20. Bacterin is a joke. That company is made up of losers from the top down. Non-proprietary technologies will only get you so far. I'm surprised they haven't tried to rip off Allosource (Allostem) yet. Are they the Alphatec of biologics? Or is that even paying them a complement?

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  21. 2:42 I heard between 150 to 200 in the Spine division but probably not many reps. You don't have to fire them, you just have to squeeze a little and they'll take care of themselves.

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  22. Bacterin and G.C. is currently involved in litigation with Allsource among others. You are correct 10:25, where are the 2010 results? They seem to be in no hurry.

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  23. Bacterin has been going around claiming that they invented the word "sponge". The funny thing is that Allosource acquired the company that first marketed a cancellous bone sponge (US Tissue & Cell). Bacterin seems to think they came up with the concept as well as the process of demineralization. I don't know what's in the water in Montana but it must make you a total idiot.

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  24. Based on the way these people have treated their employees, like a piece of meat, they deserve to be scrutinized for the amateurs that they really are, hopefully investors will run for the hills, the saga continues

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  25. They're not sponge worthy!

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  26. 6:32 is absolutely correct. U.S. Cell and Tissue "invented" the sponge. Bacterin backed out of an offer of 10,000,000.00 for that company. You cannot patent demin and many people are manufacturing the exact product.Very simple to prove OI. Where are their year end numbers and how could they possibly attain 50 million in 2011???

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  27. Leave Bacterin alone.... They conducted a head to head study with osteosponge versus infuse and were just as good.
    I love finding this study all over my accounts.
    And I don't even work for the empire.

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  28. Good, then they should have no problem quadrupling sales and going over $50 million this year.

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  29. 8.01, what study are you talking about? Head to head meaning single level ACDFs in 10 healthy 40 year olds conducted by paid consultants, sorry, I meant royalty receiving brilliant minds? Or not even that? I have as yet not seen a single abstract at a halfway reputable meeting or an article in a halfway decent journal. Please point the way! Bacterin doess't:

    Bacterin has assembled a highly influential group of surgeons from throughout the country to assist us in educating surgeons on Bacterin products, working with research and development personnel to develop new products and instrumentation, and participation in ongoing clinical studies. We have established an excellent core of surgeons, each with extensive expertise in their respective areas, including: Foot and Ankle, Spine/Neurosurgery, Sports Medicine, Hip/Knee Revisions, Trauma, and general orthopedic which will cover oncology and pediatric disciplines.

    Bacterin has several current and planned clinical studies to evaluate the efficacy of our various products for multiple indications."

    Yeah yeah yeah.

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  30. Bacterin has removed the pdf of the study from the web, however, Google has the study in html format at http://74.125.155.132/scholar?q=cache:rAzPz4o0YmMJ:scholar.google.com/&hl=en&as_sdt=0,1

    Basically, they did not compare it to Infuse, it was a small study (42 patients, mostly with muli-level fusions) by 1 surgeon (who also did a "study" with Osteosponge in the lumbar spine. The results, as you can imagine, were 100% fusion in all patients. Followup of these patients ranged from 2 months to 1 year. There was no mention of how the fusion status was evaluated.

    Not exactly Class 1 data, but it doesn't mean Osteosponge doesn't work. Just don't make the claim that it works better than anything else, because they didn't compare to anything else and the study was flawed on multiple levels.

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  31. There is also a lawsuit that MTF filed against Bacterin. Do not know the complaint, but they have very deep pockets.

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  32. Not exactly class I data? Fused at 2 months? That means the patients were under 5 years old. Nobody has radiologically solid fusions in 2 months. Read the article, I would qualify it as a well produced product brochure masking as a clinical paper. Wonder why they pulled it, images did not corroborate the text? Lastly, of course the material will work in some patients, in ACDF everything does.

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  33. The Bacterin Rep's run around with the infuse vs. osteosponge used in a TLIF cage white paper (showing equivalence).
    Then they present hospital administrators with an excel spreadsheet showing 5, 10, 50, and 100 infuse kits vs. osteosponge's and show all the savings the hospital can make.
    Classic!

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  34. When evil moves in this world,it usually logs in as anonymous.

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  35. Enough about Bacterin. They are now on the AMEX with stringent listing requirements, a new BOD, new ethic guidelines, and tied to eight figure loans with company as collateral. The days of delusional objectives and touting products not even on their shelf will likely end as it usually does in this business, with a new CEO and management team in place. Now what about those 2010 financial results?

    Now on to Medtronic and Novation

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  36. Bacterin has a new CEO? What happened to that moron Guy Cook. I remember one time Guy thought he would be sly and posted to the Alpatec yahoo finance page at the time that Alphatec released their sponge product that was similar to Bacterin's. He wrote on there that he had "heard" Alphatec had received a cease and desist letter regarding IP. Once again, Bacterin cannot patent a demineralized cancellous sponge as it was done well prior to Bacterin's existence. Well that idiot didn't bother changing his username when he posted it. Quickly following, the comment was removed and Alphatec sued Bacterin AND Guy Cook asking for his resignation. Look up the suit yourself, filed 12/24/08. Shady management for a shady company. I mean how stupid do you have to be?

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  37. Evil was saying this company will likely end as usual with a new CEO and management team. Crook is still there for the time being.

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  38. The whole management group up in Montana are burnouts and crooks which is now being seen in the field as well with their direct sales group, This Western Technology Investment group that provided financing must have some real winners not to see through all the crap in belgrade

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  39. Straight from the website::

    Guy Cook, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Scientific Officer, is considered an international expert in biofilm science and its application.

    Mr. Cook attended the University of Indiana and received Bachelor of Science degrees in Finance and Economics.

    Hmmm, finance degree but an "international expert in biofilm science". Call me crazy but does this seem a little strange to anyone else? Then again any 12 year old can demineralize tissue --- Osteotech showed us that over the last 5 years

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  40. Mar 4, 2011 COOK GUY S Officer

    13,110,126 Shares Direct Statement of Ownership


    ...but down over 50% and still heading south ouch

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  41. Does anyone know the absolute deadline for reporting previous quarter numbers?

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  42. We carried Bacterin for less than 6 months....the management team from the top down is pathetic! They also stab you in the back, come into your territory unknowningly and hire direct reps while you are still the distributor for that given territory. We had a rep call on one of our main metal hospitals with the product, only to find out the direct rep was just in 2 days prior. The studies and surgeon "Consultants" are bogus! But as 12:26 said, they will be forced to play by the rules now!

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  43. Sponge rep StabberMarch 11, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Dont blame us . Our only choice is to do his bidding and "stab you in the back" as you say or be fired. Third option is to look for other work quickly...which most of us are doing.

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  44. 1:39, I'm sure you heard about bacterin's business practices before you started carrying their sponges. Did you think you would be the exception?

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  45. No, most of us did not as we came from outside this industry and were graduates of the AIM Academy in Denver. Now I do know why Bacterin hires from outside of the industry. At least I have medical experience on my resume now.

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  46. http://www.aimedsales.com/referrals.html

    At least 10 of their "grads" are now with Bacterin. That is scary

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  47. 7:31 not our finest hour...but we were able to move the product and achieve quota. Once bitten twice shy...Sharpen your knife!

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