Smith & Nephew's Bioventus expands Euro reach

Bioventus, Smith & Nephew's ($SNN) semi-spun-out biologics healing business, is launching its products in Italy, expanding its presence in Europe after getting a foothold in the Netherlands last year.

In 2012, S&N turned its active orthopedic healing unit into a joint venture, retaining 49% ownership and selling the remainder to venture capital firm Essex Woodlands. Bioventus, the resulting JV, sells devices, therapies and diagnostics. "Launch," in this case, is relative, as much Bioventus' work is in relabeling existing S&N products, including the Exogen ultrasound bone-healing system and Durolane osteoarthritis treatment.

That said, bringing all of S&N's former active healing products under one umbrella will make it easier for clients to interact with the company, Bioventus CEO Mark Augusti said. 

"With the Bioventus launch, our Italian customers will notice an increase in the level of support and product expertise available to them through our new multi-lingual customer care center that opened last month in our Netherlands' office," Augusti said in a statement. "However, other than that, changes should be minor--our customers' sales representatives will not change and our products will simply be rebranded."

As S&N turns away from bioactive bone healing, it's betting big on wound care. In November, the U.K. giant spent $782 million to acquire Healthpoint Biotherapeutics, a Texas company that makes bioactive therapies designed to clear dead tissue from wounds. Some analysts balked at the price tag, but S&N has said it's buying into a growing industry, and, with the company's old cash cow of hips and knees struggling of late, diversifying its offerings is certainly not a bad idea.

- read the announcement

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