X-spine licenses spinal cage from University of Toledo professor

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X-spine Systems Inc., a maker of implants and instruments for spinal surgery, has agreed to an exclusive license with Gamma Spine to develop and distribute the minimally invasive spinal fixation technology invented by a professor of orthopedic bioengineering at the University of Toledo.

The license spins out of the university the “interbody cage” co-invented by Vijay Goel, Endowed Chair and McMaster-Gardner Professor of Orthopaedic Bioengineering at the university’s Department of Bioengineering. Aaron Matyas, a doctoral student at the university, is co-inventor of the cage. Goel is Gamma Spine’s sole principal.

The cage acts like a spacer between vertebra to restore motion or relieve pain after a disc is removed. Traditionally, large incisions have been made to remove discs and implant cages, Goel said. “Now, the trend is to have a very small opening so that the cage can be placed under minimal invasive surgical procedure,” he said.

Such cages are part of the growing market for non-fusion spinal technologies, often advanced by start-up or young companies, according to industry analyst Frost & Sullivan.

Goel is excited to help X-spine develop his orthopedic cage. “I have developed quite a few orthopedic devices,” said the co-director of the university’s Engineering Center for Orthopaedic Research Excellence, a joint effort of its colleges of medicine and engineering. “This is the first one to be sub-licensed.”

But another of Goel’s inventions likely will be released in June or July, he said. Being developed by Turning Point in Redding, Connecticut, Core Trainer is an exercise and conditioning device that helps strengthen core muscles.

Goel’s patent-pending device for the fixation of vertebra with minimal tissue disruption while keeping the biomechanical advantages of a traditional full-exposure system is being developed by X-spine. “I am thrilled be working with Dr. Goel, who is one of the worlds most renowned and published experts in spinal biomechanics, to develop this unique and valuable technology,” Dr. David Kirschman, president and chief executive of X-spine, said in his company’s release.

Kirschman is a former partner at Ohio Neurological Institute in Dayton, according to his LinkedIn page.

“X-spine is the ideal partner to bring this technology to the worldwide marketplace,” Goel said in the release. “The company has an excellent track record of bringing innovative technology to fruition through its top-down emphasis on engineering, research and development.”

The license agreement with Goel and his company enables X-spine to build on its strategy to provide implants for the market trend toward smaller, cost-effective procedures in spinal surgery. “Surgeons are demanding procedure options which are less invasive for patients, less costly for payers, but maintain the ease, safety and efficacy of traditional full-exposure procedures,” Kirschman said. “We feel that the Gamma technology effectively addresses that demand.”

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