6 Questions with ReJoint, a startup redefining total joint replacement by leveraging a combination of great new technologies.
This is the 19th in a series of 6-Question interviews with leaders who are challenging conventional thinking in Orthopedics (read other interviews here).
I have been following ReJoint for years now, back when it was just an idea. It is refreshing to see a startup throw all the latest technology at an old problem – joint replacement.
I sat down virtually with Gian Guido Riva, the Founder and CEO at ReJoint, to ask him 6 questions.
1. How did REJOINT get started? Take us back to the lightbulb moment. We would love to hear the backstory.
REJOINT was conceived to innovate in a mature and very conservative sector, where therapeutic solutions do not always meet the needs and expectations of patients and surgeons. The idea behind REJOINT was born in 2014 when trying to interpret the great taboo of those times, for example, the growing dissatisfaction of increasingly young and demanding patients in total knee replacement, also the proactive comparison with surgeons with a broad and shared vision and on the basis of a very thorough study of literature. Then I remembered that there was a 14-20% dissatisfaction, today Stryker advertises a figure closer to 35%! [link]
To follow our mission, we included in our offer many technological paradigms. Things not common in the sector: Artificial Intelligence, Additive Manufacturing, IoT (Internet of Things), transforming a product into a service. Our goal was to make a routine treatment into something new, well beyond and above the standard.
And we can tell you that with REJOINT the patients are really at the center of everything, thanks to a truly individualized holistic approach that releases benefits for the surgeon and for the healthcare facility. As well as primarily for patients
2. How was REJOINT initially created, funded and initially staffed?
Tiger, REJOINT is Italian. This means a big difference when compared to the USA in terms of fundraising and also means an almost absent or no specific focus of Venture Capital.
REJOINT was born with funds injected by founders, friends and former executive managers of the sector who saw a clear potential. In 2019 we won an important European H2020 grant and we obtained new investments.
Now we are proud recipients of other grants that reward us for the different lines of innovation that collaborate among them in Rejoint. We are in fund raising in these months for the Series B … if you want to invest we would be proud to be your partners ;-)
I can sincerely tell you that only the best here make it, in the USA we would have collected perhaps 20 times what we have collected so far. We have discussed several times the possibility of relocating to the USA . Bologna is the Motor Valley (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ducati, Maserati, Pagani, Dallara, AlphaTauri F1, Ferrari F1, Ducati MotoGP etc), a perfect technological environment for metals and high precision machining, as well as being an area that has given birth to many inventions and revolutions in the orthopedic field, creating schools that have trained world-renowned surgeons with whom we collaborate on a daily basis.
We are proud that many of our collaborators and Directors come to be part of our extraordinary Team, preferring us to ortho majors or to excellent positions in large companies by deciding to marry a jewel of innovation, often leaving a comfort zone from which they did not find exciting stimuli.
3. Please describe the benefits of the technology and how REJOINT is different from other total knees in Orthopedics.
A personalized and specific solution for your anatomy and kinematics, a fast, minimally invasive intervention and a constant monitoring service during rehabilitation.
Tiger, if your surgeon proposes a prosthetic solution from an important company or instead makes you aware of what we are doing, what would you choose? Try taking a survey with your friends and let me know the result.
REJOINT brings clear functional benefits to the patient: the KOOS data we collect from all patients without medical intermediation, at multiple intervals, are showing a consistent and appreciable positive gap compared to literature data from the best systems on the market. And I underline that we do not skim the data and these are compiled directly by patients through specific apps.
We are different because we are not afraid of the data that will be the strength to demonstrate that personalized and connected treatment is winning and is the future in orthopedics:
– The customized prosthetic solutions bring very strong benefits for the patient in terms of quality of life.
– The planning of the surgery weeks before allows the surgeon to concentrate and simulate the operation in a non-stressful intra-op phase with superior results.
– The personalized treatment benefits from time / cost of use of the OR and accessory costs, length of stay, shortening the rehabilitation phase, to the patient and the hospital, which recovers costs much higher than the cost of personalized prosthesis.
– The patient, through dynamic wearables, transmits the state of the art of his rehabilitation process to the surgeon who thus does not lose track of it. A 55-year-old patient, 50% will replace the contralateral knee, with possible revisions at 75 years: remote monitoring is to the benefit of the surgeon who thus manages to give the right attention to his client.
4. Tell us more about how are you leveraging AI + 3D printing + wearables to deliver a better product.
As mentioned above, we have introduced new functional technological paradigms to enhance the benefits to the patient.
We have developed and are developing A.I. that support us and make the surgical design scalable, choosing the correct positioning on the basis of a functional and proprietary surgical technique and the most correct sizing and the most appropriate features of the implant.
Additive Manufacturing is a cost effective technology for creating personalized systems.
Finally, wearables are the only tool to connect the surgeon to patients who often travels to be operated on and who in the future could simply access (without travel costs and time) tele-consultation services.
And the connected patients are the ones who are telling us how well they feel post surgery, who thank us for the support they had in the pre-op and post-op phase and who certify that customized solutions offer much better results than even the most advanced off the shelf solutions.
5. What is your business model? How will you make a profit in the future?
Currently REJOINT sells an implant kit directly to the hospital and a wearable kit and a remote monitoring service to the patient.
In the future, the intermediation of telemedicine services will also enter as revenue as well as financial and insurance products to support the price of the system to allow patients and hospitals the most sustainable access possible to innovative and high-tech products that are a little more expensive than standard products and solutions, perhaps 10/20 years old.
#6 – Where do you see REJOINT, going in the future?
When new technological and business paradigms are effectively introduced, initially we only see the tip of the iceberg in terms of benefits. We like to call ourselves a little Tesla in orthopedics. Now Tesla sells cars, I believe Tesla will sell mobility services and mobile media content in the future. And like Tesla, I believe that REJOINT and other companies will increasingly move to services that obviously include a product.
The focus of REJOINT is to increasingly condense the surgeon’s know-how and experience in the design and simulation phase of surgery.
In addition to YourKnee, which will soon be extended to unicondylar and bi-unicondylar treatments and subsequently to revision reconstructions, in the future of Rejoint I see two developments of simulation and support technologies for the surgeon’s work.
The first is a simulation, programming, and in 5G connection, remote reprogramming platform of Cobot systems that in an increasingly autonomous way, can perform most of the manual activities now required of the surgeon who can be connected remotely and on the move.
The second is a secret;) Maybe we’ll talk about it another time. I can only anticipate that it relies on deep artificial intelligence and big data to offer therapeutic simulation services in orthopedics.
|Lorenzo Riva Co-Founder & CRO|
phone: +39 051 0238885
mobile: +39 335 5424542