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VOL. 132 | NO. 70 | Friday, April 7, 2017

Davis to Lead Next Phase of Development at Active Implants

BY MICHAEL WADDELL, Special to The Daily News

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Ted Davis was happy to be able to stay in Memphis when he took over his newest leadership role as president and chief executive officer of medical device company Active Implants Corp.

Ted Davis recently became president and CEO of Memphis-based medical device firm Active Implants Corp. after holding leadership roles at Wright Medical Group and MicroPort Orthopedics. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

“One of things I tell people about Memphis is that it’s a small enough city that every individual can make an impact, and that’s what’s fun,” Davis said. “In my work at Wright Medical and then carving out and creating MicroPort Orthopedics, we basically created two companies out of one in Memphis – both of which are growing, which is very nice.”

Davis worked for about a decade to grow Wright Medical Group Inc.’s business in Arlington. When Wright Medical sold its hip and knee replacement business to MicroPort Orthopedics in 2015 – a transition he helped orchestrate – Davis became chief executive officer of MicroPort. Wright, meanwhile, began to focus solely on its extremities business, primarily focused on implants for the ankles and feet.

Active Implants’ NUsurface Meniscus Implant is the first of its kind. It helps restore load distribution in the knee and protects cartilage, with the goal of delaying a total knee implant. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

Once he had MicroPort fully integrated, he began looking for his next leadership role.

On the entrepreneurial side, Davis has worked with the Memphis Bioworks Foundation and other efforts around town to create new companies.

“Small successes can be a big deal for our community, and it’s great to know when you are moving the needle,” Davis said. “When you know you are making a difference, making an impact on the community, then it’s a good place to be.”

Davis was approached to join the board for Active Implants last year by medical device entrepreneur Henry Klyce.

“Active Implants is a longstanding company in Memphis. I’ve known of it since it was founded, so I’ve watched it as it’s been through different evolutions of the business,” Davis said. “There was continued progress in our (clinical trials) enrollment, and the market opportunity was very significant.”

Active Implants was founded in 2004, and clinical trials began on the NUsurface Meniscus Implant in 2008.

“Ted’s expert business vision, along with his extensive experience providing strategy and leadership at orthopedic companies, makes him an extraordinary fit for Active Implants,” said Klyce, who was chairman and CEO of Active Implants from 2012 to February of this year. “A proven leader with a track record of delivering results, Ted brings the experience necessary to guide us through our next stage of growth.”

The company’s NUsurface device helps restore load distribution in the knee and protects cartilage from further damage, with the goal of delaying a total knee implant.

“The NUsurface is intended for patients who have had a meniscectomy who are not candidates yet for a total knee (replacement),” Davis said. “When you remove the meniscus, especially when you remove a large portion of it, you change the loading characteristics of the knee, and therefore it is a precursor to cartilage damage.”

The device has been in development for more than a decade, and there will now be limited commercialization in Europe and at some of the company’s clinical sites. Two clinical trials are ongoing, and the data gathered will be filed for FDA approval in the U.S.

“Over the next three years, we should be in a position to bring our product to market in the U.S.,” Davis said. “In today’s environment of health care reform, you really have to demonstrate the efficacy of your product as well as the economic benefit, so we will be spending a lot of time on the publication side and being able to demonstrate the economic benefit.”

Davis trained at Vanderbilt as a biomedical engineer, and describes himself as “the guy who was going to med school and ended up distracted in business school.” He spent a little time in the sales side of life sciences and the pharmaceutical industry, and did some health care consulting before going back to business school.

“When I went back to business school, I was focused on working into the venture capital side of life sciences, so investing in small startup companies, not unlike Active Implants,” said Davis, who spent a decade in Chicago before moving to Memphis to join venture capital firm MB Ventures.

At Wright Medical, he led business development from 2006 to 2012. From 2012 to 2015, he was divisional president of Wright’s OrthoRecon business – the business sold to MicroPort – leading mergers, acquisitions and strategy. He oversaw the acquisition and integration of a series of extremities and biologics platforms during Wright’s transformation into a market leader in the extremities market segment.

Away from work, Davis is an outdoor enthusiast, including mountain biking, road biking, running and golf. His wife, Lyle Hull Davis, is director of education at the Bodine School in Germantown, and they have two teenage girls who attend St. Mary’s and a son who goes to Presbyterian Day School.

“Most of my life at this stage is spent around my kid’s extracurricular activities,” said Davis, who grew up in North Carolina and Philadelphia.

He’s now looking forward to leading the growth of another local company.

“It’s a great time to be stepping into this role, and hopefully it will turn into another success story for Memphis,” he said.

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