Johnson & Johnson plans for more orthopedics, spine launches in Q4, 2020

Written by Laura Dyrda | October 16, 2019 | Print  |

Johnson & Johnson's orthopedic and spine business lines were relatively flat for the third quarter, with sales growth at 1.2 percent overall.

The spine business reported sales were down 3 percent overall, with the primary driver being the U.S. markets. "While we continue to see stabilization of performance driven by new products such as the Viper Prime system for minimally invasive surgery and our newly launched Conduit interbody platform with EIT cellular titanium 3D printer technology to treat degenerative spine disease, we lost share in the quarter," said Christopher DelOrefice, vice president of investor relations for Johnson & Johnson during the company's third quarter earnings call on Oct. 15, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

Pricing pressure was apparent for all orthopedic lines, including knee and hip sales as well. U.S. pure price was negative across all platforms, with knee sales down 1 percent and spine, hip and trauma sales down 2 percent.

The company did report growing international numbers, including double-digit increases in Asia and China markets. For orthopedics, sales grew in the high single-digits or double-digits during the third quarter; however, the U.S. remains the company's biggest market and Ashley McEvoy, executive vice president and worldwide chairman of medical devices, said Johnson & Johnson is still committed to accelerating growth there.

"We do command the world-leading position in orthopedics," she said. "We've accelerated that revenue in 2019. So year-to-date that business is up around 1 percent, really fled by [a] very strong quarter."

Ms. McEvoy also alluded to news that will come out in the fourth quarter for the spine business related to the Symfony launch for complex posterior, cervical and deformity. In addition to innovations for several other healthcare lines, she said, "We're going to have some digital robotics in our orthopedics business really beginning with the filing in 2020, let alone all the digital surgery offerings that we have with Monarch and the future with Verb and Eye platform."

She also touched on Johnson & Johnson's partnership with Brainlab on an end-to-end navigation solution, saying: "we actually in quarter three entered into a co-marketing distribution and R&D agreement with Tinavi, who is the market leader in orthopedics robotics in China and actually is the only arm-based robotic technology approved for spine in China. So clearly we feel like we have to have a digital surgery offering as well in China."

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Hospital for Special Surgery's new spine chiefs: goals for the future and big issues in spine

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