Industry Spotlight

Musculoskeletal conference kicks off at U of M this week

By Andy Meek

An audience of a few hundred people, including investors, entrepreneurs, researchers, clinicians and musculoskeletal industry leaders, is gathering in Memphis this week to network, learn about new business opportunities and hear about companies like Restore Medical Solutions, a Memphis-based medical device startup.

Shawn Flynn of Restore Medical Solutions demonstrates his modular system for keeping surgical tools organized.  Restore is among those making presentations at the Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Restore is among those making presentations at the 11th annual Musculoskeletal New Ventures Conference, which happens Oct. 22-23 at the FedEx Institute of Technology at the University of Memphis.

For Restore, said president Shawn Flynn, it’s an opportunity to introduce key players in the field to his company, which has developed a product and method for sterilizing surgical instruments. The company, a graduate of the ZeroTo510 accelerator in Memphis, recently received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and can begin marketing its products.

A spokesman for the Memphis Bioworks Foundation said the event is a prominent one for Memphis, because it introduces industry leaders to companies like Restore. The conference has been held here since its inception and has become the premier investor conference for the musculoskeletal space – a $40 billion global industry.

“We’ve been extremely busy,” Flynn said about the recent history of his company, which is presenting during the conference on Wednesday. “We closed on our ($2.5 million) Series A round of funding in December, and then we went full steam ahead and started implementing a detailed, robust quality system and got really aggressive about growing.

“We’re close to signing our first deal. I hope it’s going to be a local hospital here in town. We’ve got our FDA clearance, and our plan for the rest of the year is – we’re approaching sales in a way that shows we know the value of the product, but we want to make sure there’s independent supporting evidence for our claims.”

With the medical device industry, Flynn went on, independent validated reports are key toward making claims about devices. That’s why leading up to 2014, Restore’s first partner will be critical, because at that point the product will be in use and data will start to be collected toward the claims Restore wants to make.

Conference attendees will hear about other companies like Restore. Gary Stevenson, managing partner at MB Ventures, estimates about 200 people will attend the day-and-a-half-long conference, which will include presentations by 22 venture-back startup companies that all are developing product solutions related to musculoskeletal disease.

“The musculoskeletal industry is such a prominent industry for Memphis, because you have Medtronic, Wright Medical, Smith & Nephew, Campbell Clinic, Semmes-Murphey – so you have clinic resources as well as established companies,” Stevenson said. “That’s one of the reasons we established the conference 11 years ago.”

The event will include a few panel presentations, including one on the first day featuring three executives from Wright Medical. They’ll talk about the transformation under way at Wright, and they’ll also field questions from the audience.

Featured speakers at the conference will include Lance Alstodt, managing director of investment banking at Leerink Swann Investment Banking; Lance Berry, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Wright Medical Group; Gary Brothers, senior director of corporate development for Medtronic Inc.; Ted Davis, president of OrthoRecon Wright Medical Technology Inc.; Nimesh Shah, partner at Domain Associates; Kathy Tune, partner with Thomas, McNerney & Partners; and Jonathan Chen, vice president of international business and investor relations for MicroPort Scientific Corp.