Iconacy pursues safer, cheaper hip implant in the face of larger rivals' woes

Out of crisis often comes opportunity, and so is the case with the ongoing morass over the safety of metal-on-metal hip implants. MedCity News reports that Indiana startup Iconacy recently gained FDA clearance for what could potentially be a safer and cheaper alternative to their all-metal counterparts that have caused their manufacturers, and patients, so many problems.

So far, Iconacy has raised $3 million, which helped support development and the regulatory approval process for its i-Hip total hip plant device, according to the article. Pending a new funding round expected to begin in January and clinical tests, the product will hit the commercial market. And it will go against much larger companies--from Smith & Nephew ($SNN) to Stryker ($SYK), Zimmer ($ZMH) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ)/DePuy--that have been roiled by increasing evidence of safety problems with all-metal hip implants and are now immersed in recall issues and thousands of lawsuits.

How does Iconacy's stand out? MedCity News explains that its i-Hip product is made from Vitamin E-infused polyethylene (licensed from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Cambridge Polymer Group). Envisioned more like a traditional implant rather than a metal-on-metal hip implant, the design is intended to make the implant easier to maneuver. Company president Tom Allen also told MedCity News that he envisions a cheaper product compared to those made by Iconacy's much-larger device industry rivals. Meanwhile, hip lawsuits against J&J/DePuy, Stryker and others continue to rise.

- read the MedCity News story