Rank: #7 (Last year: #8)
Prior Fiscal: $745 Million
Percentage Change: +12.2%
No. of Employees: 2,894
Global Headquarters: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Robert J. Palmisano, President and CEO
David D. Stevens, Chairman, Non-Executive Director
Lance A. Berry, Exec. VP, CFO, and COO
Kevin Cordell, Exec. VP, Chief Global Commercial Officer
Jason D. Asper, Sr. VP, Chief Digital Officer
Julie D. Dewey, Sr. VP, Chief Communications Officer
James A. Lightman, Sr. VP, General Counsel and Secretary
Andrew C. Morton, Sr. VP, Chief Human Resources Officer
J. Wesley Porter, Sr. VP, Chief Compliance Officer
Barry J. Regan, Sr. VP, Operations
Kevin C. Smith, Sr. VP, Quality and Regulatory
Jennifer S. Walker, Sr. VP, Process Improvement
Peter S. Cooke, President, Emerging Markets, Australia, and Japan
Patrick Fisher, President, Lower Extremities
Timothy L. Lanier, President, Upper Extremities
Steven P. Wallace, President, International
Julie B. Andrews, VP and Chief Accounting Officer
While the more traditional orthopedic markets—for example, knee and hip implants—enjoy modest year over year growth, the most substantial gains are seen in more recently emerging areas, such as extremities and biologics. Recognizing this several years ago, the executives at Wright Medical transitioned the company’s focus to be fixed on these two areas. This move included a merger in 2015 with Tornier, which was then absorbed into Wright. Fast-forward to the firm’s 2018 fiscal year, and the company enjoyed 12 percent gains over the prior year, a testament to the success of its vision to exclusively serve the two aforementioned orthopedic sectors.
The firm’s net sales total in 2018 topped $836 million, a double-digit percentage increase over 2017’s $745 million. What’s more, the company’s net sales in 2018 were a sizeable increase when compared to just four years earlier (the same time the Tornier acquisition was completed) in 2015, which saw a total of $405 million.
While the firm’s sales are almost a 3:1 ratio of those within the U.S. versus international, both regions saw double digit growth. The $624 million in the U.S. reflected a more than 12 percent gain over the prior fiscal period. Meanwhile, international sales grew 11.6 percent to result in a $213 million total.
Those sales are divided by Wright into four segments. The largest—upper extremities—also boasted the greatest gains between ’17 and ’18, rising from $335 million to $396 million. The increase was driven by several factors, including positive sales of the organization’s shoulder products in the U.S. and expanding international sales to direct markets and greater sales volume to distributor markets.
In comparison, the firm’s lower extremities portion saw a more modest gain over the prior fiscal year, posting $311 million in 2018 from $287 million in 2017. The additional sales were attributed primarily to 15 percent increased revenue of INFINITY total ankle replacement products in the U.S. and more sales to distributor markets internationally.
Biologics, which actually saw a higher percentage gain from international sales than U.S., enjoyed overall growth from $101 million in 2017 to $109 million in 2018. According to the company, the gains were a result of increased sales through international distributors and greater sales volume of its biologic products in the U.S.
The only segment of Wright to see a loss in sales between the two years was sports medicine and other. While the company didn’t offer an explanation for the decrease, it’s undoubtedly a portion of the company that’s not within the scope of its primary focus. Whether the segment that contributed $20 million to the firm’s sales total in 2018 will ultimately remain with Wright for the long term, or is divested to facilitate a dedication to the aforementioned core divisions as many other orthopedic device manufacturers have done, will remain to be seen.
An additional reason for the increased sales in 2018 was attributed to an acquisition Wright closed during the fiscal year. At the end of August, it was announced that Cartiva Inc. would be brought into the fold for $435 million in cash. Specifically, the purchase bolstered the portfolio of the lower extremities segment with unique, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved technologies for foot and ankle procedures.
“We are delighted to add Cartiva’s technology, including its Synthetic Cartilage Implant, the first and only PMA product for the treatment of great toe osteoarthritis, to our lower extremities portfolio,” stated Robert Palmisano, Wright’s president and CEO. “We believe this technology is a perfect fit for our Lower Extremities business and adds a differentiated product that addresses a common condition that is treated by most foot and ankle surgeons and has strong patient demand.”
The Cartiva implant reduces joint pain without sacrificing the foot’s natural movement, unlike fusion, which is another treatment option for the condition. As a result of the less restrictive rehabilitation protocol with the product, a patient who receives the implant is able to typically return to more normal activities faster than patients who undergo the fusion procedure.
While bringing in technology that had been developed outside the firm is a fantastic strategy for growing a company’s offerings (and quite common within medtech), Wright supplemented that effort with several of its own product announcements during the year.
In the biologic space, the company gained premarket approval from the FDA for its injectable formulation of AUGMENT, a bone graft indicated for ankle and/or hindfoot fusion. The combination product, which consists of recombinant human platelet derived growth factor (rhPDGF-BB) and a blend of Type I collagen and Beta tri-calcium phosphate, was provided to physicians as an alternative to autograft. Upon receipt of the approval, the company finalized the product for market launch.
During the 2018 American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Scientific Conference, Wright announced the U.S. launch of its INVISION Total Ankle Revision System with PROPHECY Preoperative Navigation. According to the company, the solution is the first preoperative planning system with patient-specific instrumentation for ankle revision arthroplasty. The system helps surgeons rebuild bone lost through previous surgeries and provides modularity to help restore natural joint height.
Similarly pairing a U.S. product launch announcement with an industry event, Wright declared its PROstep Minimally Invasive Surgery System was available during the 2018 annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. Specifically designed for foot and ankle surgery, the system provides a minimally invasive, procedurally integrated solution that features specifically designed implants and instrumentation for percutaneous surgery of the foot. It can be indicated for a variety of forefoot and hindfoot pathologies, including bunions—a painful foot deformity that is prevalent in approximately 23 percent of adults aged 18-65 years and 35.7 percent of those aged over 65 years.