Silver service: S&N's Durafiber Ag now dresses European wounds, too

In its push to expand its wound closures division, Smith & Nephew ($SNN) has secured EU approval for a version of its Durafiber product that is laced with silver.

A few months ago, the British medical device company added the antimicrobial properties of silver to Durafiber, its brand of non-woven, gelling fiber used to treat and manage severe wounds. Durafiber Ag, named for the periodic table symbol given to the element, became available in the U.S. in September. The product is designed for use on medium to heavily exuding chronic and acute wounds. 

Its expansion to Europe--and "other markets worldwide in the near future"--underscores Smith & Nephew's commitment to find growth in its wound dressing unit, as its core businesses in knee and hip replacements make their way through a turnaround.

In November of 2012, S&N paid a high price, $782 million, in an unorthodox move, buying Texas-based Healthpoint Biotherapeutics, makers of a bioactive wound closure therapy. The costly move into biologics was a reach beyond S&N's core competency in devices, underscoring management's perception of the need for bold steps.

S&N has made good on that purchase, reporting 10% growth in its Advanced Wound Care unit to $331 million in revenue in the third quarter. 

"We believe it is important that clinicians have a choice when treating these type of wounds," Frans Cromme, senior VP, Advanced Wound Care, said in a statement, regarding Durafiber Ag. "Smith & Nephew is committed to delivering innovative products that improve patient well being and help reduce the economic cost of wounds. I'm delighted that patients will now be able to benefit from the effectiveness of this new dressing with its high absorbency and proven clinical outcomes."

- read the press release

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