MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Smith & Nephew (NYSE: SNN, LSE: SN) Orthopaedics Division is pleased to announce the signing of a technology development contract with the United States Department of Defense that may lead to the creation of a fracture fixation system intended to revolutionize the treatment of the limbs of soldiers who sustain battlefield injuries.
Last year, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the central research and development agency for the U.S. Department of Defense, accepted proposals to create and develop "fracture putty," a dynamic new material that would markedly enhance the healing of soldiers who suffer traumatic wounds in the field of battle. These wounds often lead to secondary fractures and infections, multiple surgeries, long rehabilitation times and, in some cases, amputation.
In particular, injuries sustained from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are difficult to treat due to the usually significant loss of bone and soft tissue. The fracture putty system is intended to provide substantial support of the injured limb early in the body's natural healing process so the soldier can more quickly participate in physical therapy and thus reduce the risk of further complications. The putty will then resorb - meaning it will dissolve over time, leaving natural healthy bone in its place. Today's standard treatment methods include permanent metal support devices such as plates, rods and bone screws.
Smith & Nephew is the only medical device company chosen to work on this futuristic material. Beyond this initial project, the company may expand the application of the technology to the treatment of other kinds of bone fractures in both military and civilian trauma care.
"Fracture putty represents the ultimate convergence of orthopaedic material science and mechanics, and has the potential to revolutionize the way patients are treated," said DARPA's program manager, Mitchell Zakin, PhD. "If all technical challenges are met, we believe this innovative technology will provide superior clinical outcomes for patients."
"This announcement represents the spirit of innovation that drives Smith & Nephew scientists and engineers," said David Brumfield, vice president of product development in Smith & Nephew Orthopaedics' Trauma franchise. "We will use the full extent of our expertise, ground-breaking material technology and quality manufacturing to create the best possible treatment for those who have been injured while serving our country."
Smith & Nephew's history of orthopaedic trauma innovation includes the introduction of the compression hip screw and intramedullary hip fracture fixation. Additionally, Smith & Nephew was responsible for introducing the ILIZAROV(TM) method of external circular fixation to the United States, which is manifested today in its award winning TAYLOR SPATIAL FRAME(TM) device, a technology currently used to treat complex fractures sustained by US military personal.
Smith & Nephew is a global medical technology business, specialising in Orthopaedics, including Reconstruction, Trauma and Clinical Therapies; Endoscopy and Advanced Wound Management. Smith & Nephew is a global leader in arthroscopy and advanced wound management and is one of the leading global orthopaedics companies.
Smith & Nephew is dedicated to helping improve people's lives. The Company prides itself on the strength of its relationships with its surgeons and professional healthcare customers, with whom its name is synonymous with high standards of performance, innovation and trust. The Company operates in 32 countries around the world. Annual sales in 2008 were $3.8 billion.
DARPA is the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development projects for DoD, and pursues research and technology where risk and payoff are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances for traditional military roles and missions.
This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the US Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In particular, statements regarding planned growth in our business and in our trading margins discussed under "Outlook" are forward-looking statements as are discussions of our product pipeline. These statements, as well as the phrases "aim", "plan", "intend", "anticipate", "well-placed", "believe", "estimate", "expect", "target", "consider" and similar expressions, are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors (including, but not limited to, the outcome of litigation and regulatory approvals) that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Smith & Nephew, or industry results, to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Please refer to the documents that Smith & Nephew has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including Smith & Nephew's most recent annual report on Form 20F, for a discussion of certain of these factors.
All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to Smith & Nephew as of the date hereof. All written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to Smith & Nephew or any person acting on behalf of Smith & Nephew are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing. Smith & Nephew does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Smith & Nephew's expectation with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.