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Zoning In with Mark Augusti

Mark Augusti was recently appointed Corporate Vice President, President, Orthopedics and Tissue Technologies of Integra LifeSciences. Integra recently announced new initiatives to create an independent, publicly-traded spine company called SeaSpine, and a newly-aligned portfolio that will focus on providing specialty surgical solutions, as well as orthopaedics and tissue technologies.

Mr. Augusti brings 25 years of experience from the orthopaedic trauma and extremities space to his new position. Prior to Integra, he spent eleven years at the helm of Smith & Nephew’s trauma business, where he gained experience in medical technology management, strategic decision-making and learned the importance of medical education and sales training.

BONEZONE® spoke with Mr. Augusti to discuss Integra’s recent developments and how his robust career experience prepared him for this leadership role.

BONEZONE: What steps have you outlined to accelerate growth at Integra? What are some objectives that you have accomplished thus far?

Augusti: We have a three-point strategy for growth.

  1. We are focusing on new product introductions, including our Total Shoulder, external fixation and Total Foot System II in extremities.
  2. Clinical studies, including a focus on the Diabetic Foot Ulcer segment will position us to enter the chronic wound market with our regenerative skin products.
  3. We seek to grow our existing distributor and direct rep models, with an eye toward more physician education and training.

BONEZONE: In a recent press release, you said, “We have an opportunity to bring a business to scale in a dynamic market and to commercialize exciting new technologies in extremities, wound care, orthobiologics and spine.” Can you elaborate on some of these new technologies?

Augusti: In shoulder, we are one of only two companies that are developing a pyrocarbon platform. In extremities, we have launched our Freedom Wrist Arthroplasty System and our Total Foot System II, and are developing additional new extremity products.

I already mentioned the DFU trial and our intent to move into the chronic wound space. We expect to execute more trials to increase our indications in that clinical arena.

In spine, we recently launched our NanoMetalene technology, which is a titanium coating over PEEK-OPTIMA®, and at this year’s North American Spine Society meeting, we launched our newest orthobiologic implant, an engineered demineralized bone matrix strip that is shaped to accommodate additional graft material and has osteoinductive* potential.

The biggest change, however, is the exciting news that we are planning to spin off our spine business, creating an independent, publicly-traded company, called SeaSpine, which will focus on developing, marketing and selling spine hardware and orthobiologics. The new SeaSpine will be able to focus on the operating, financial and market characteristics specific to the spine business. Both Integra and the new SeaSpine will continue to be leaders in providing innovative regenerative technologies and clinical solutions in their respective fields.

After our spine business is spun off in 2015, our Orthopedics & Tissue Technologies division will focus on two areas:

  • Wound care, specifically expanding our leadership position in burns into the broader market, where we can take advantage of our differentiated regenerative technologies and channel.
  • Extremities small bone orthopaedics, where we will focus resources on optimizing our commercial organization, developing new products in both metal and regenerative technologies and driving successful market share gains. A good example would include the expansion of our shoulder line and the future two-piece ankle for the U.S. market.

BONEZONE: What are your greatest challenges today?

Augusti: Reimbursement and generating quality clinical evidence remain challenges for all device companies. Finding talent that can take Integra to the next level in these areas is difficult. The changing insurance landscape also remains a challenge, as our physician and provider customers struggle to adapt.

BONEZONE: What lessons have you learned? Or, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Augusti: Many good people have given me great advice over the years, so it’s hard to pick out one thing. In general, I have learned that saying “yes” is much more empowering than “no.” When you can bring together great talent, the best thing you can do as a leader is to give them the resources and runway to execute on their ideas and plans. When you do that, you can achieve great things.

*DBM or representative finished implant is either assayed in vivo in the modified athymic nude rat for bone formation or in vitro for endogenous BMP-2 as a surrogate test marker for osteoinductive potential. Because the combination of various proteins is responsible for osteoinductive potential, DBM when assayed in vitro is also screened for the presence of BMP-7. Findings from an in vitro assay or animal model are not necessarily predictive of human clinical results.

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