WARSAW, Ind., April 5, 2016 –
OrthoWorx today announced the launch of a new initiative aimed at providing an ecosystem to accelerate the likelihood of success of innovative enterprises by leveraging the unique assets of the northern Indiana orthopedic medical device industry cluster, which has the largest concentration of such activity in the world.
The centerpiece of the effort will be AcceLinx, an organization that will provide a platform for selected entrepreneurs to advance new medical device technologies and create new enterprises. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has offered up to $1.2 million over six years in funding to help establish and operate the new entity. The City of Warsaw has also committed $500,000 in funding to the initiative. Discussions are currently underway with other regional economic and private stakeholders toward the remaining funding needed for the six-year, $4.8 million operational budget.
The innovation process in medical devices has become more complex because of a variety of factors, including a complicated web of regulatory clearances that are required to market and gain reimbursement for products. The path from concept to a mature company in medical devices often takes six or more years. Large companies are more likely to acquire technologies or products that are further along in their development cycle than in the past to assure that regulatory paths, clinical performance and commercial potential are well understood. That means entrepreneurs can benefit from guidance and technical/production support to develop and test their concepts from an economic as well as a medical perspective. Moreover, human capital as much as financial capital is a key differentiator for success.
AcceLinx is designed to work with selected entrepreneurs navigate that pathway and will partner with companies whose ventures are at varying stages of development in the orthopedic, spinal and biologics medical fields. Those companies will draw upon the unmatched supply of talent, services and suppliers in northern Indiana to assist in their growth. Companies will be provided needed strategic resources, including orthopedic-industry specific expertise, either from in-house AcceLinx experts or through their extended network of supply chain companies, operational talent and end users. Other support will include access to capital from an affiliated partner and working space as appropriate depending on a company’s stage of development.
The organization will be headquartered in Warsaw. Although legally separate from OrthoWorx, AcceLinx will initially be housed within the OrthoWorx offices with a physical location expected to be established within the next year. According to Sheryl Conley, OrthoWorx President and CEO, initial efforts will focus on creating the AcceLinx entity, assembling the team and network, and establishing the funding partner. Future announcements will be made regarding how AcceLinx will engage with entrepreneurs who want to learn more.
“Warsaw and the Northern Indiana region has been the orthopedic device capital of the world for more than 100 years, now supporting nearly 11,000 associates today,” said Jim Schellinger, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “With rapid changes in life sciences today, the orthopedic industry needs a supportive environment to create more great-paying jobs in Indiana. AcceLinx will help expand the talent base, economic activity and employment opportunities in the Hoosier state by preserving the industry and by fostering medical device innovation.”
“Innovation is the lifeblood of the medical device industry and why the companies in our region account for leading global market shares and approximately $17 billion in annual revenue,” said Ms. Conley. “One of OrthoWorx’s fundamental purposes, in addition to the work we’ve done in talent development and talent attraction, is to foster innovation in our state to enhance the environment for our industry and support the communities that rely on it. With inspiration and encouragement from the late Dr. Dane Miller and other community leaders, we conceived and developed the AcceLinx initiative to capitalize on the unprecedented concentration of intellectual capital and device industry experience in northern Indiana. Regional industry and service providers offer nearly any capability required by an entrepreneur to advance his or her business plan. The concentration of suppliers and access to human capital for advice and guidance is unmatched.”
“We at the City of Warsaw are delighted with the impending launch of AcceLinx,” said Warsaw Mayor Dr. Joe Thallemer. “States and countries everywhere want to lead the next great wave of medical device innovation. We have an advantage in that competition given the talent and suppliers in our community, but we can’t stand still. We want Warsaw to still be the undisputed center of the orthopedic technology world 50 years from now, and that requires action now.”
The orthopedic medical device industry cluster in Indiana began in 1895 with the founding of what is today DePuy Synthes Joint Reconstruction. Other firms, including Zimmer and Biomet (then separate companies; now merged), were also launched in Warsaw, which has led to an unprecedented concentration of medical device firms and direct employment of approximately 7,000 in Kosciusko County alone. Device firms and their suppliers are largely concentrated on a corridor extending from Warsaw to Allen County. OrthoWorx industry members DePuy Synthes and Zimmer Biomet are two of the largest such firms in the world. Other members include Medtronic, the world’s largest spinal implant company (whose roots stem from an early Warsaw orthopedic manufacturer), Paragon Medical, a leading Tier One supplier, and OrthoPediatrics, a company devoted to developing orthopedic treatments for children.
Formed in 2009 with initial funding from the Lilly Endowment, OrthoWorx (www.orthoworxindiana.com) is a community-based initiative that works strategically and collaboratively with the orthopedic industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the Warsaw region continues to reap the social and economic benefits that derive from its position as The Orthopedic Capital of the World.®