Stryker augments Spine business with BD vertebral compression fracture acquisition

AVAflex vertebral balloon system

Stryker ($SYK) has completed its acquisition of Becton Dickinson's ($BDX) CareFusion portfolio of vertebral compression fracture products. The deal, struck in March 2015, is the latest in Stryker's M&A rampage, and the fourth acquisition closed this month.

The acquisition is "highly complementary" to Stryker's Interventional Spine business, said Timothy Scannell, group president of Stryker's medsurg and neurotechnology divisions in a statement. "It also strengthens Stryker's brand in the Neurotechnology space," he said.

The neurotechnology unit was a strong performer in Q1, with a 21% increase in net sales, but Stryker's Spine unit is one of its smaller and poorer performing groups. The acquisition, which includes CareFusion AVAmax products such as the AVAflex vertebral balloon system and AVAtex radiopaque bone cement, will bolster the business. Earlier this month, Stryker closed the acquisitions of Physio-Control International, Synergetics' neuro portfolio and Sage Products.

While the deal is not expected to affect earnings, the company returned the Spine unit to growth in Q2 2015, with Q4 marking the third consecutive quarter of growth. In Stryker's Q1 earnings call, CEO Kevin Lobo attributed its better performance to the launch of "a slew of new products" that are "being well adopted in the marketplace."

The deal comes a week after Stryker picked up Florida-based SafeWire, which makes minimally invasive spinal surgery products. However, the company isn't relying just on M&A to boost its Spine business. In the call, Lobo highlighted its "strong pipeline within spine," which includes 3-D printed implants, as a driver of strong performance in the year to come.

"Consistent R&D investment has generated strong internal product pipelines across the Company and we continue to augment them with acquisitions," Lobo said.

- read the statement
- here's the earnings release
- and here's the earnings call transcript (reg. req.)