The NASS 2023 conference, hosted in Los Angeles, California, served as a gathering point for medical device manufacturers, surgeons, medical marketers, and healthcare professionals to delve into the latest developments in the field of spine care. Among the notable participants, Nexus Spine drew attention with its pioneering approach to spinal implants. During this event, Doctech.live, a Med-Tech Innovation Report and journalist company sponsored by Ghost Productions Inc., had the privilege of interviewing David Hawkes, the President of Nexus Spine, to delve deeper into their trailblazing work.
Nexus Spine is dedicated to advancing the realm of spinal implants by harnessing their expertise in compliant mechanism engineering. Their innovative, evidence-based methodology is reshaping surgical technologies by focusing on enhancing clinical outcomes while simplifying the implantation process. Their streamlined spinal fusion systems find particular utility in ambulatory surgery centers, streamlining implant bulk, surgery duration, and hospital handling. Nexus Spine operates under the ownership of Crocker Ventures, a privately-held investment firm specializing in life sciences, healthcare, and technology.
The roots of Nexus Spine trace back to the 1990s when they embarked on their journey of developing spinal implants. Their approach has consistently revolved around evidence-based practices, with a dual mission of enhancing clinical outcomes and simplifying implant use.
During the interview with Doctech.live, David Hawkes illuminated the innovative engineering that sets Nexus Spine apart from its competitors. He clarified that human tissues experience motion through bending rather than sliding, and the spinal disc exhibits flexibility. Nexus Spine leverages the cutting-edge field of compliant mechanisms, which enables motion through the bending of metal rather than sliding.
One of their groundbreaking achievements is the creation of porous titanium that emulates the flexibility of spinal cancellous bone. By precisely matching the stiffness of spinal cancellous bone, Nexus Spine's implants foster rapid bony formation. In contrast to competing devices that tend to be overly rigid, leading to the formation of fibrous tissue, Nexus Spine's implants offer quicker stability with bone formation taking place within a matter of weeks.
This technology isn't confined to interbody spacers; Nexus Spine's pedicle screw system also capitalizes on flexing titanium, reducing volume, bolstering strength, and minimizing the need for numerous instruments.
3D printing plays a pivotal role in Nexus Spine's approach. The company utilizes 3D printing to craft rods with built-in flex, promoting the micro-motion essential for osteogenesis, a critical process for bone growth.
Achieving this level of innovation necessitated specialized knowledge. Nexus Spine's engineering team, boasting PhDs in the realm of compliant mechanisms, meticulously calculates stress at the microscopic level to keep every finite element within its elastic limit. This expertise empowers them to decouple strength and stiffness, maintaining high strength while reducing stiffness.
Nexus Spine has reached significant milestones in the regulatory landscape. With 13 years of operation and devices implanted over the past eight years, they have secured 510(k) clearance for 13 products. Thousands of surgeries have been performed using their devices, demonstrating enhanced outcomes and cost savings.
The company's co-founder, Gary Crocker, boasts a successful history in medical device companies and aspires to make a lasting impact on healthcare. David Hawkes joined forces with him, identifying opportunities to address the deficiencies in existing hardware and make a difference in the spine care industry.
Promoting Nexus Spine's innovative products presents distinct challenges. The company aims to cater to a diverse set of stakeholders, including hospitals, surgeons, representatives, and patients. Effectively conveying their value proposition without blending in with other products in the market poses a complex task. They are diligently working on crafting a straightforward, distinct message that resonates with all parties.
Having already tackled major revenue segments such as lumbar fusion, lumbar interbody, and cervical motion preservation, Nexus Spine has plans to expand its focus to smaller revenue segments plagued by persistent hardware shortcomings. Their objective is to continue enhancing care while reducing costs.
Supporting the Spine CommunityNexus Spine's presence at NASS 2023 exemplifies their commitment to supporting the spine community. While their primary goal is not to generate sales leads, they aim to actively contribute to the industry.
Nexus Spine's innovative approach to spinal implants, rooted in compliant mechanism engineering and 3D printing, has the potential to revolutionize spine care. With a steadfast commitment to improving clinical outcomes and cutting costs, Nexus Spine is poised to leave a lasting impact on the field of spine surgery. As they persist in attending industry events and collaborating with stakeholders, we can anticipate further advancements in their groundbreaking technology.
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