Zimmer buys Ortho Transmission to better serve amputees using novel surgical approach

Zimmer Biomet ($ZBH) has acquired Ortho Transmission to get its hands on technology for anchoring artificial limbs, saying it will help restore mobility among amputees. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The device will complement Zimmer's work on transcutaneous (across the skin) limb attachment conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense, the company said in a release.

Ortho Transmission's transcutaneous osseous integrated skeletal implant is designed to enable direct skeletal attachment of a limb prosthesis. Today's technology for prosthetic attachment utilizes a molded sockets that fits over the patient's residual limb, resulting in a so-called skin-to-socket interface. The socket must be replaced periodically and prone to complications associated with such as soft tissue irritation, sores, infections and joint pain, Zimmer says.

Osseous integrated leg prosthesis can also increase walking ability, according to one study.

"Transcutaneous osseous integrated technology represents a fundamental innovation in limb replacement, and Zimmer Biomet is proud to leverage our musculoskeletal expertise to significantly improve the quality of life of amputee patients living in the United States and around the world," said Todd Davis, general manager of Zimmer's global knee business, in a statement. "Our leading research and development capabilities, combined with our proprietary Trabecular Metal material to support bone ingrowth and vascularization, represents the ideal platform to accelerate the commercialization of this implant. This acquisition also perfectly aligns with our broad-based focus on clinically relevant innovations."

Dr. Ronald Hugate Jr.

The investigational implant was developed by former military surgeon Dr. Ronald Hugate Jr. of Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver. With the help of experts in sports medicine, he has spent more than 10 years taking the device through preclinical studies and animal testing, according to the release.

Zimmer said it plans to test Ortho Transmission's technology in clinical trials.

A study in the International Journal of Advanced Materials Research reveals that Zimmer scientists have already collaborated with Hugate in the transcutaneous implant arena on topics such as the use of highly porous tantalum.

- read the release