Going Global: How K2M Grew Internationally & Where the Spine Device Market is Headed

Written by Laura Dyrda | November 06, 2013 | Print  |

Eric MajorPresident, CEO and Co-Founder of K2M Eric Major discusses how his company has expanded globally and plans to remain successful in the spinal implant market going forward.

Q: How is K2M evolving to meet the needs of spine surgeons today with new device launches and releases?


Eric Major: We've been trying to stay focused with an essential strategy for quite some time. We view the overall spine market as a huge business and we focus on devices for minimally invasive complex spine and deformity procedures. We are also building out a complete portfolio of degenerative products.


We believe that in this changing environment it is imperative to provide a comprehensive portfolio to our hospital customers around the world. The thing we have not changed is the focus of our technology in research and development to address the most difficult pathologies and let the experience of our engineers and surgeons inspire our products. With the recent Rail 4D™ launch, we provided a new option to the spine market that is a very different approach to rigidity for facilitating fusion.


That is how we have differentiated our business and continued to grow. Now we are in 30 countries and we have been growing dramatically around the world.


Q: What have you learned about the global spine market as you expanded your reach?


EM: I think as we enter each market we've come to appreciate that while everyone is treating spine patients, there are different perspectives from surgeons coming from around the world. The way a surgeon in Japan considers treating the patient is different from how surgeons in Germany, Italy or the UK treat patients. We need to make sure we have local business partners in each region to help us appreciate the local needs of the market, such as whether the devices need to be designed differently or whether we need to organize the instrument tray differently.


We have grown to have a business appreciation of each market around the world.


Q: What type of technology presents the biggest opportunity for K2M to be successful in the spine device marketplace?


EM: We believe the best place for us to differentiate is to continue to focus our efforts in the tier-one space of deformity and minimally invasive surgery. A product like Rail 4D touches all those areas. It facilitates alignment when using it through an MIS approach to treat patients with degenerative conditions of the lumbar spine. That’s the example of a platform technology that crosses all aspects of the spine. We are going to continue to try to bring those technologies to market that provide a solution to both orthopedic spine and neurosurgeons.


Q: What challenges are there in the healthcare marketplace today that make it difficult to develop new innovations?


EM: I think the biggest challenge for the entire medtech market continues to be the uncertainty of healthcare policy as it relates to our continued investment in research and development, and growth globally. Strong entrepreneurial cultures continue to find a way to grow in any market and that's why I think we continue to grow.


When I look at publicly traded spine device companies and us, we continue to grow and stay focused on our core competency. We aren’t trying to address pathologies outside of spine. The continued uncertainty has all companies pause as they continue to make strategic decisions. However, I'm bullish on the decisions we made and that's represented by our quarter after quarter growth.


Q: How are device companies and provider changing to overcome these difficulties and better meet the needs of their patients?


EM: As an organization, we have to continue to be nimble and responsive to the changes in the market every day while not losing sight of the patient care. The big thing that is changing across the industry is the continued inclusiveness in the business decision-making of the surgeons, companies and hospitals. They are working with payers to be more collaborative than in the past.


In this environment, we have to be more collaborative as we are looking at the business. We have to partner with surgeons, hospitals, payers and other decision makers going forward.


Q: What about K2M's mission and company culture has contributed to its growth and success?


EM: From a culture perspective, I think our entrepreneurial approach to the business has set us apart. Our co-founder, Dr. John Kostuik, developed a culture to listen to the needs of the surgeon. We've learned to do that globally from his vision of being a citizen of the world. He has an appreciation for the different physician perspectives from around the world. We also listen to both orthopedic spine and neurosurgeons and are responsive to them.


We have an entrepreneurial culture when it comes to research and development and product development. We're looking at where the market is today and what we can provide in terms of technology that helps surgeons treat their patients. Patient care in spine is complex from degenerative conditions to scoliosis; they are very challenging patients and what provides our guide post every day is to help surgeons treat patients.


Q: Where do you see the biggest potential for future growth in the spine device market?


EM: I think ultimately at K2M, we are fortunate to be in an industry where the psychological income of the employees is that we recognize we have a positive impact on patients around the world. If we remain focused on the strategies to provide technology for complex spine pathologies, we’ll be able to build a portfolio because we've been able to keep our eye on the spine market.


Also, the globalization view of the world allows us to expand our reach to offices in Europe, Asia and the United States. That expansion has given us better visibility in the markets and the unique needs of surgeons around the world. That global view contributes to developing interesting technology that we can bring to the market.


More Articles on Spine Devices:
17 Spine Devices Receive FDA 510(k) Clearance in October
7 Key Notes on Spine & Orthopedic Device Companies
15 Spine, Orthopedic Device Launches & Releases

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