Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will acquire Synthes, a Swiss-American medical device manufacturer, making Johnson & Johnson the largest player in the market for surgical tools and implants to treat trauma patients.
The $21.3 billion deal will also make the healthcare giant a more powerful competitor in the $37 billion worldwide market for orthopedic medical devices, according to the New York Times. This acquisition was the largest ever for the company.
Synthes is a leading maker of screws, plates and surgical tools used to stabilize traumatic injuries. Trauma products are more profitable and less vulnerable than other kinds of medical devices to changes in economic trends, say experts. Through the acquisition, Johnson & Johnson will now be able to offer hospitals a breadth and depth of products for one-stop shopping in reconstructive implants and trauma repair.
Trauma implants and instruments are used for the surgical treatment of fractures, deformities and tumor diseases. Synthes makes devices and implants for shoulders and elbows, hands and wrists, hips and pelvises, knees, feet and ankles, and periprosthetics for adults and children. Synthes’ products also include biomaterials such as bone substitutes and bioresorbable materials.
Synthes also brings to the deal products for the treatment of degenerative instabilities, fractures, tumors, and deformities, offering a full range of solutions for the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.
In addition to its product range, Synthes also develops new surgical techniques such as the Integra 360° technique. Developed in 1998, it combines the spine products SynFrame, SynCage, and translaminar facet screws. It is the first standardized surgical technique using a minimally invasive access for both an anterior and posterior approach for the circumferential stabilization of the lumbar spine.
The acquisition is meant to allow cooperation between Johnson & Johnson’s existing orthopedic and spinal implant division.
Johnson & Johnson has come under fire in the past for its recalls of artificial hips and other products, including Motrin and Rolaids, and Childrens’ Advil.
Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is an award-winning health and technology writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines and IBM in her 20-year career. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell