Smith & Nephew Signs Licensing Deal for KFx Medical’s Rotator Cuff Repair

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Smith & Nephew enters a licensing agreement with KFx Medical for certain tissue fixation products and patents that are under dispute between KFx and rival Arthrex.

Healthcare giant Smith & Nephew  entered into a licensing agreement gaining access to patented rotator cuff repair technologies developed by KFx Medical Corp., a privately held California company focused on tissue fixation.

The deal allows Smith & Nephew to promote products and techniques for KFx’s patented “double row rotator cuff repair,” which accounts for about 1 in 3 rotator cuff repairs in the U.S., according to the press release.

KFx’s AppianFx line of implants help surgeons reattach tissue to bone in a variety of orthopedic procedures, including shoulder, ankle and knee surgeries. KFx offers products both with and without sutures, according to a company statement.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with, and are proud to have our innovation recognized by Smith & Nephew,” KFx president & CEO Tate Scott said in prepared remarks. “They are a global leader in the world’s orthopedic industry and share KFx’s dedication to helping improve people’s lives. I am pleased with the license arrangement and the prospect of seeing KFx’s valuable double row knotless rotator cuff technology reach even more patients.”

The companies did not divulge details or terms of the agreement.

The patents now licensed to Smith & Nephew are also at the center of an ongoing battle between KFx and Arthrex. KFx sued Arthrex in August 2011, alleging infringement of the patents by Arthrex’s SutureBridge and SpeedBridge devices for rotator cuff repair and Achilles tendon repair. Arthrex moved to have the patents declared invalid, arguing that the KFx lawyer who prosecuted the patents sought to deceive the USPTO’s examiner.

A Southern California Judge in July shot down Arthrex’s bid to have KFx’s 3 patents for a “System and Method for Attaching Soft Tissue to Bone” declared invalid and granted KFx’s motion to toss claims that it misled a U.S. Patent & Trademark Office examiner. The patent infringement trial against Arthrex is slated to begin August 19.

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