58 • ODT odtmag.com July/August 2017
8. NuVasive Inc.
Gregory T. Lucier, Chairman & CEO
Quentin S. Blackford, Exec. VP & CFO
Carol Cox, Exec. VP, External Affairs & Corporate Marketing
Jason Hannon, President and COO
Skip Kill, Exec. VP, International
Matt Link, President, U.S. Commercial
Ed Roschak, CEO, NuVasive Specialized Orthopedics
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 2,200
GLOBAL HEADQUARTERS: San Diego, Calif.
Competing in the spine market is no easy task. Some of the world’s largest medical device companies—Medtronic plc, Johnson & Johnson (DePuy Synthes), Stryker Corp.,
and Zimmer Biomet to name a few—comprise a large chunk of
the spine market. Companies looking to claim a slice of the spine
pie therefore must have a new twist on traditional spinal technologies to stand a chance of competing
with these long-established giants.
San Diego, Calif.-based NuVasive
Inc.’s quirk for the spine market lies
right in the firm’s name—a portfolio dedicated to minimally
invasive (or in the company’s
words, minimally disruptive)
spine surgery technologies.
The full-line spine company has established a niche
in procedurally integrated
spine solutions, capitalizing
on the demand for surgical
alternatives with less tissue disruption and patient
trauma and an aging “baby
boomer” population seeking a
speedy return to daily living following surgery.
Because NuVasive’s strategy in-
volves transforming traditional spi-
nal offerings into less invasive ver-
sions, the firm can sometimes fall
prey to patent litigation of technolo-
gies appearing a little too similar to
existing products. In 2008, for example, Medtronic’s Spinal divi-
sion filed a patent infringement lawsuit against NuVasive, claim-
ing the company’s XLIF (lateral lumbar interbody fusion) sur-
gical technique encroached on several patents Medtronic held.
NuVasive responded in kind with counterclaims that Medtronic
had infringed on its patents. The initial trial on the first phase
of the case concluded in 2011, resulting in an unfavorable ver-
dict against NuVasive regarding several Medtronic patents, and
one favorable verdict. Monetary damages of $101.2 million were
awarded to Medtronic (which both companies appealed), and the
funds were put in escrow for a future verdict.
The second phase of the case, which involved a Medtronic cervical plate patent, was resolved in 2013. NuVasive received a license to practice various patent families collectively representing a
majority of Medtronic’s patent rights to cervical plate technology.
NuVasive made a one-time $7.5 million payment to Medtronic,
which was also awarded a royalty on NuVasive’s Helix and Gradient cervical plate products. The final phase alleged NuVasive’s spinal implants, Osteocel Plus bone graft, and XLIF procedure using
MaXcess IV retractor infringed several Medtronic patents.
In June 2016, the patent litigation was finally resolved. NuVasive ended up paying Medtronic $45 million, and all parties
released each other from ongoing patent litigation. Each company was granted irrevocable, worldwide, non-exclusive, paid-up,
Lucier was installed as
NuVasive’s CEO in mid-
2015 after Alex Lukianov’s
resignation due to lack of
compliance with expense
reimbursement and other
personnel policies. At the time,
there were some stirrings of a Nu-
Vasive sale because Lucier seemed
more amiable than Lukianov to the
strategy, according to comments
made to Reuters by Leerink Swann
analyst Richard Newetter.
NuVasive did not go up for sale
in fiscal year 2016 (ended Dec. 31),
but the company was certainly made a much more attractive
target due to double digit sales growth. NuVasive garnered $962
NuVasive acquired the MAGnetic External Control (MAGEC)
system with its $380M purchase of Ellipse Technologies last
year. Image courtesy of NuVasive.