SI-Bone to increase sales force, grow academic medical center presence in 2019

Written by Laura Dyrda | March 15, 2019 | Print  |

SI-Bone reported a 15 percent revenue increase last year, as well as a $17.5 million net loss.


During the fourth-quarter and full-year earnings conference call last week, CEO Jeffrey Dunn discussed the company's strategic plan in the coming year, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

Mr. Dunn expects the company's sales force expansion, surgeon training and incremental reimbursement coverage to drive increased utilization of its products in the U.S. The company finished out 2018 with 45 mature reps in the U.S. direct sales organization that have a technical skill set in spine or interventional pain management.

"In 2019, we're focused on growing sales in new territories through the addition of direct sales reps and more deeply entertaining exiting territories through the addition of clinical support specialists," said Mr. Dunn. "To that effect, we plan to add 10 to 15 sales reps during the year to large or unpenetrated territories. We also plan to aggressively increase our number of clinical support specialists, adding 25 to 30 new specialists, throughout the year to support smaller and rapidly growing territories."

The company also added three regions, now covering 10 in the U.S., and promoted three top direct sales reps to regional sales directors during the first quarter of this year to effectively scale the U.S. sales organization.

SI-Bone reported 450 active surgeons in the fourth quarter of 2018 and aims to increase that to 550 by the end of this year. The company also received FDA clearance of the iFuse Bedrock technique recently for adult deformity surgeries, allowing surgeons to place an iFuse implant on each side of the sacrum from a posterior approach for those procedures.

"We believe that this is an exciting step forward since many long fusions are performed at leading academic institutions around the world," said Mr. Dunn. "Our team is now engaged with many of these institutions, such as Duke, Rush, Scripps, NYU, University of Minnesota, Barrow Neurological Institute and Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. We're now seeing significant interest in the SI joint at these leading academic institutions."

The company plans to roll out the iFuse Bedrock slowly, and Mr. Dunn doesn't see a large amount of revenue tied to the company's efforts in adult deformity. However, as academic medical centers engage with the sacroiliac joint associated with deformity issues, there will be a "trickle down" effect of surgeons continuing to pay attention to the sacroiliac joint.

"[We're expecting] some surgeries that will be de novo where these surgeons in academic centers, the fellows and residents that we are training across the country, will pay attention to the sacroiliac joint, and all these pieces will come together, adding revenue," said Mr. Dunn. "But most importantly, if we could get 7,500 surgeons and all the fellows and residents, and supporting peripheral folks, to pay attention to the SI joint, that will drive growth in a very significant way because of awareness."

Over the next year, the company plans to expand its commercial team both in the U.S. and internationally, and ramp up efforts for education and reimbursement. There are five new payers that recently decided to reimburse for minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion.

"We are highly confident more are coming," said Mr. Dunn. "We have seen drafts of additional payer policies that I did not mention today that show, let's just say, progress in moving from non-exclusive to exclusive. We also have information that other payers will come on."

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