How do you think we're going to get along, without you when you're gone
You took me for the $50 mil that we had and kicked us out on our own
Are you happy, are you satisfied, how long can you stand our heat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip to the sound of the beat
ba ra... ba. ba. ba. another one bites the dust
The last decade has provided us with some precious moments in spine. There have been (some) winners, yet, many losers. The winners sell their respective technology or company, while the losers rationalize why they were never able to execute the game plan. Some will argue that it was better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. But one has to question whether there was true passion and love in some of these failures. Monday morning quarterbacking is America's favorite past time. Reasons for failure can be predictable. Usually, a higher force was the impetus, we ran out of money, market dynamics, the FDA (our favorite), and reimbursement to name a few. These are just a few of the eulogies and epithets we have heard and read. What's so interesting is that never, in all the years that TSB has been in the business have we had an admission of failure, "we mismanaged our capital (a big one), we had a poor strategy and failed to execute, we hired the wrong executive management team (commonplace), we started this venture because we thought we could flip this stat, we move too fast, too soon, we should have never bought that dawg." Just ask some of the companies that either acquired some of these ventures (Zimmer) or have failed. The challenge in running any business is a true balancing act. Success lies in developing an equilibrium between sales and product development. Moving too fast too can be detrimental in the long run. What we've learned over the years is that investors and management have a difficult time in pacing themselves, especially when you're running a marathon, and not a sprint.
Lack of accountability exists at epic proportions in this industry. But then look around us, it has become acceptable to blame someone else, or some higher force when it comes to failure. Ever think that your idea wasn't really that great of an idea? Ever think that all you had was, wishful thinking? Maybe it was more about fantasy than reality? So why is TSB posting on those that have been sold and those that just went cold? On Thursday, May 19th, 2011 Premia Spine, an Israeli based company (whatever happened to Expanding Orthopedics) announced that it had acquired the assets, including 16 patents owned by Impliant. The flagship product was known as TOPS technology. TSB believes that the acronym TOPS stood for Typical Of Products in Spine. After $50 million and a minimum of five years in development one would think that investors would have recouped some of their capital. TSB bets the house that this was a fire sale, pennies on the dollar. Buying IP or someone's assets is a nice way of putting someone to rest, and at times IP is only worth the paper it is written on. TOPS had a mediocre run in the U.S. after the initial hype. So as the consolidation continues one has to wonder who will be next? If it wasn't for POD's, how many more companies would go under in a heartbeat? So as Dion once sang, "Anybody here seen my old friend Robin, can you tell me where they've all gone, you hyped a lot of companies and it seems they all die young, you know I look around and their gone."
Abbott Spine (Sold)
Applied Spine (RIP)
Disc Dynamics (RIP)
Disc Motion (RIP)
Facet Solutions (Sold)
Harvest Technologies (Sold)
Innovative Spine (RIP)
Surgical Dynamics (Sold/RIP)
Consolidation Nation? You be the judge?