Philipp Lang, CEO of ConforMIS
In its largest equity round to date, ConforMIS Inc. has raised $50 million in U.S. and international funding. The milestone provides a solid financial foundation for the company to not only build its commercial infrastructure, manufacturing base, and sales force, but also to boost ConforMIS as it prepares for the launch of its iTotal system. ConforMIS CEO Philipp Lang, MD, anticipates that iTotal, a total knee resurfacing system, will be the company's biggest product to date.
Founded in 2004, ConforMIS takes a novel approach to using technology to create personalized knee implants for patients with arthritis. Its devices allow surgeons to resurface and preserve most of the tissue in the joint. With three successful partial knee implants on the market, the company is looking to expand into areas outside of the knee after the release of iTotal.
The company will be using the $50 million to deploy and fully commercialize iTotal. This includes completing any product development and preparing the sales force, marketing, and commercialization infrastructure that come with the product rollout.
“We looked at this fundraise, and the needs and uses of funds. It's not so much that it's enabling us to do some things that we previously hadn't planned on doing, but it's a way of supporting the strategy that we've had in place for some time in a full way,” says Jong Lee, senior vice president for strategy at ConforMIS. “It allows us to continue to operate soundly and viably and to introduce iterations of existing products, along with going after the iTotal.” Lang hopes to have the product launched early next year.
ConforMIS will also continue its key hallmark of offering a much less invasive surgical procedure that spares more tissue and bone than other surgeries. “The single most precious tissue in orthopedic surgery is bone, and it's key to preserve as much bone as possible and if you can, cartilage,” says Lang. “We're following that objective and rationale as we deploy more implants in the knee, and in the future, into other joints.” The company has more than 250 patents filed, which Lang says can be applied to hip and shoulder joints, ankles, and wrists.
Although many companies have had a hard time during the recession, Lang says his company hasn't taken a hit. “I think the investor community has clearly recognized that if you come up with a highly innovative and disruptive technology into one of those existing markets, there's potential for very significant returns, even in a difficult external economic environment,” he says. “At the bottom line, when you look at the fundraise that we completed, it shows there's continued strong interest by some of these large crossover investors and global investors in innovative technology. I think there's particular appetite as it pertains to personalized medicine.”
According to Lang, the patient-specific options that ConforMIS offers patients puts the company in a unique position, because it's the only company with such a personalized device approach in the $20 billion orthopedics market. As the rest of the year plays out, the company will continue to aggressively build its direct sales force and leverage its sales team by staying within the total knee space.
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