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Smith & Nephew buys cartilage repair product from Piramal

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Smith & Nephew ($SNN) sees the arthroscopically delivered cartilage repair solution it's just bought from Montreal, Canada-based Piramal for an undisclosed sum as a first-line treatment. Known as BST-CarGel, it's approved in most of Europe, Australia and Canada.

BST-CarGel is a biopolymer-based solution. It's first mixed with a patient's blood and then implanted into the joint after a microfracture procedure. It can be used to treat damaged cartilage in synovial joints such as the knee, hip, ankle and shoulder.

Microfracture is a surgical technique for cartilage repair that creates tiny fractures in the underlying bone and creates what is called a "super-clot." BST-CarGel is designed to adhere to the cartilage surface and stabilize the blood clot while new cartilage is regenerated.

"BST-CarGel augments our existing joint repair portfolio with a new option that is differentiated with strong clinical evidence and targets an area of significant patient need and surgeon demand," said VP of Sports Medicine at S&N Scott Schaffner in a statement. "We are committed to seeking and investing in next-generation technologies to widen access across our global customer base."

In an 80-patient trial among those with grade III and IV femoral cartilage lesions demonstrated that microfracture, BST-CarGel showed better quantity and quality of repair tissue at one and 5 years after microfracture alone. It also had fewer structural failures after 5 years.

Smith & Nephew's Sports Medicine business is built around its 2014 acquisition of Arthrocare for about $1.7 billion. In the first 9 months of 2015, the company reported $437 million specifically in joint repair revenue. That's an increase of 5% over the same period a year earlier. That makes it a bit of laggard in the overarching Sports Medicine revenues, which were about $1.4 billion and grew at a 9% pace in the first 9 months of 2015.

- here is the announcement

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