Franco-Texas MedTech Firm Looks to Innovate in Spinal Therapies

As Christophe Lavigne puts it, back in 2000, he and his co-founders were “three guys out in the middle of nowhere trying to create the gold standard of spine surgery.”

The three entrepreneurs were in Troyes, France, a town in the Champagne region known more for its half-timbered homes than its medical innovation. But that’s where they began work on what would eventually become the flagship product of their company, LDR Holdings: the Mobi-C, a cervical disk replacement device intended to give patients with spinal injuries greater flexibility and movement than traditional therapies, where the vertebrae are fused together.

Thirteen years later, the Mobi-C received has received approval from the FDA for use in the United States and, in October, LDR went public in a $75 million IPO. The company, which has been based in Austin since 2005, has operations in seven countries and sells its devices in 25 nations worldwide from Brazil to Japan. Lavigne, LDR’s CEO, says 30,000 spinal patients are treated with the company’s devices each year.

“Now, with the ability to insert this disc, we can restore the mobility of your neck,” Lavigne says. “There are very few non-fusion options for surgeons in the surgical spine area.”

I spoke with Lavigne following the expiration of the 30-day post-IPO quiet period.

He says money from the IPO will help LDR expend its sales and marketing presence in the US. LDR recently reported a third quarter net loss of nearly $8 million, nearly triple its $3 million loss the in the third quarter of 2012 (although LDR attributes more than half of the loss to $4.7 million in noncash expenses for the revaluation of warrants leading up to the IPO).

LDR began the process for getting US approval for the Mobi-C in 2005, shortly after founding the Austin headquarters. The company … Next Page »

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