List of Design Shops who are currently serving Orthopedics |

List of Design Shops who are currently serving Orthopedics

Below is a list of 22 R&D Outsourcers that are active in Orthopedic product innovation today.

(Ranked from larger firms to smaller firms.  The larger firms have many employees and many clients.)

  1. Orchid Design
  2. CoorsTek Medical
  3. Kapstone Medical
  4. Farm Product Development
  5. Enztec
  6. Marker Medical
  7. Mobius Medical
  8. Intrepid Orthopedics
  9. Pipeline Orthopedics
  10. Key Tech Inc.
  11. Slingshot Product Development Group
  12. Gilero Biomedical
  13. Arch Day Design
  14. Strategy2Market
  15. Applied Orthopedic Design
  16. Perceptus Consulting
  17. Elevate Medical
  18. Pro-Dex
  19. Zigg Design
  20. Market Medical
  21. JALEX Medical
  22. Product QuickStart

There is quiet trend happening in Orthopedics that is fundamentally changing the way companies create new products.

by Tiger Buford


Back in the good old days, let’s say the 1990’s, if a surgeon had an idea, they simply brought it to their favorite Orthopedic manufacturer, signed a contract and the engineers went to work.  After a few design/testing iterations… whiz, bang, boom and the product was on the market in 12 months.

Fast forward to today and there is a problem with the innovation process – the working relationship between surgeon and manufacturer.

Unfortunately the surgeon/manufacturer relationship has been beaten down by years of financial disclosures at medical meetings, obscene consulting pay splashed in local newspapers, contract negotiations with endless legal and compliance oversight, very public DOJ investigations, and 8-figure fines handed down to manufacturers who have paid surgeons indiscreetly.

I never thought it would come to this, but it has gotten so awkward that some of the big Orthos just cannot seem to find a way work with design surgeons anymore.  Then, on the flip side of the relationship, I run into surgeons who are scared to work with the big name Orthopedic manufacturers.

So if surgeons with good ideas cannot work with the manufacturers any more, how can companies develop innovative new products?


Enter the R&D Outsourcer.

There has a new crop of talented entrepreneurial teams who have started their own R&D firms in the last few years to work directly with surgeons, and sometimes Ortho manufacturers, on new projects. These teams learned their trade at some of the best Orthopedic and Spine companies.  These nimble R&D firms have access to all of the same resources that the big guys have (the best engineers, CAD, sophisticated prototyping, test equipment, regulatory processes, etc.), but do not have all of the red tape that the big Orthos have (slow decision making, layers, compliance oversight, IP committees, regulatory committees).

Another advantage of the R&D Outsourcers is that they can take an idea as far, or as short, as the customer wants. The customer can just chose off the menu how deep they want the team to take the project.  Here are some of the services offered from concept to market.

  • product planning and definition
  • concept generation
  • market analysis
  • working prototypes
  • feasibility testing, including cadaver labs
  • final product design
  • patent applications
  • design transfer (ready for manufacturing)
  • regulatory filings
  • production
  • sterile inventory on the shelf

These new Outsourcers serve an unmet need for BOTH surgeons and manufacturers.

Surgeons benefit by access to fast, under-the-radar-screen product development.  The development is usually faster and more engaging than working the the big boys. And often the surgeon is able to retain some equity, rights or future royalties.

The Big Orthos benefit by getting access to innovation that they cannot get with home-grown projects. They can purchase a “ready-for-market” product without dealing with the messy and uncomfortable surgeon consulting issues. It turns out that the big Orthos are willing to pay handsomely for commercially viable products when much of the risk has been removed.


One response to List of Design Shops who are currently serving Orthopedics

  1. Ron Todd (RT) June 14th, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Tiger, I look3ed at your list of LIST OF R&D OUTSOURCERS and they are all “companies”. Do you know, or have started, a list of independent free-lance designers such as myself, who have lower overhead costs and can actually work at a faster less expensive pace?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FREE White Paper!
7 Disruptive Trends in Orthopedics
* No Spam - we will never share your details.