Gaining a Foothold
Orthopedics is difficult
for startups to break into.
Most of the market is occupied by multi-billion
dollar companies with
intimidatingly large product mixes. Any orthopedic
startup seeking success essentially has to find an unsaturated niche and let innovative products fly into
the market before another
company stakes its claim.
Paragon 28 took the literal approach to getting its foot in the door
of the orthopedics market. Founded in
2010, the company established itself as an exclusively foot and ankle company (seriously, “
exclusively foot & ankle” is right there in the company’s
logo), with the“ 28” in its name representing the number of
bones in the foot. According to the company’s website, to date
Paragon 28 has filed 62 patents and supported 32,970 surgeries.
You name a foot or ankle injury or deformity, and chances are
Paragon 28 has a corresponding fixation product in its arsenal. The
company offers technologies for arthrodesis, deformity correction,
flatfoot correction, fractures, hallux valgus (more commonly known
as a bunion), and hammertoe, as well as biologic solutions to support these procedures. The company’s steady stream of products
has been giving it quite a foothold in the extremities market—in
2017 alone, Paragon 28
launched nine new foot
and ankle products.
“As we continue to add
more products, we main-
tain a fine level of detail to
every feature of every prod-
uct we design,”Paragon 28’s
mission states. “The goal is
to give options to the foot
and ankle surgeon, know-
ing there is more than one
way to achieve a great re-
sult. We have listened to
surgeons and will continue
to do so in order to un-
derstand and address their
For example, the Baby Go-
rilla Mini Plating system launched
in January builds upon the modularity,
optionality, and specificity of the company’s
flagship Gorilla Plating system with a compre-
hensive set of implants for procedures requiring narrower plates
or screws matching the size and anatomy of the small bones
within the foot and ankle. The Titan 3D Wedge system launched
in April consists of porous titanium wedges that can offer sur-
geons an alternative to autograft and allograft bone. And the
Phantom Lapidus Intramedullary Nail released in June is the first
dedicated nail of its kind to be used specifically for bunion correc-
tion of the first TMT (tarsometatarsal) joint.
Tissue Regenix Group & OsteoNovus
Michael Barbella • Managing Editor
There’s a scene in the 1986 film “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” where Dr. Leonard McCoy sneaks into a San Fran- cisco hospital to rescue the seriously injured Pavel Chekov.
With Admiral James T. Kirk at his side, he barges into the operating room and stops the surgeon from drilling into the Starfleet
officer’s skull to relieve arterial pressure.
“My God man, drilling holes in his head’s not the answer!”
dCELL-erating Healing Time
McCoy shouts, appalled at the barbaric elements of late 20th-
century healthcare. After a brief exchange, he reverses Chekov’s
traumatic brain injury within seconds using a pocket-sized medi-
cal device, angrily muttering, “Chemotherapy...fundoscopic ex-
aminations...[we’re] dealing with Medievalism here.”
Indeed, scalpels, bone drills, cranial shunts, and intracellu-
lar poisons are Gothic fixes compared to the curative powers of
23rd-century intergalactic medicine. They also seem a bit primi-
tive today—a mere three decades removed from Chekov’s mi-
raculous resurrection—as technology taps into the body’s innate
ability to heal itself.
The science behind Tissue Regenix Group plc’s products sounds like
it belongs aboard the Starship Enterprise: The company’s dCELL
technology enables the body to regenerate diseased or damaged
tissue from either human (allograft) or animal (xenograft) tissue
sources without compromising tissue strength and structure.
Developed at The University of Leeds (West Yorkshire, Eng-
land), Tissue Regenix’s patented dCELL platform strips DNA and
other cellular material from the tissue, leaving behind an intact
acellular matrix that serves as a framework for repopulation by
the patient’s own cells. “With dCELL technology, the body rec-
ognizes the tissue matrix as a collagen scaffold, it doesn’t matter
that it might come from a pig,”explained Drew Distin, vice presi-
dent of Orthopedics, North America.“The patient’s own cells will
grow into it.”
Tissue Regenix’s dCELL technology can be used in a wide
range of medical applications, though it only has secured regula-
tory approval thus far for its chronic/acute wound care product.
Launched in January, the Baby Gorilla Mini
Plating system contains plates, screws, and
instrumentation designed specifically for use within
the foot and ankle. Image courtesy of Paragon 28.