Small Bone Innovations Inks New Licensing Agreements With Sweden's Artimplant To Develop And Market Four New Artelon(R) Spacers For Arthritis Treatment

NEW YORK, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Small Bone Innovations LLC (SBI), has entered into four new exclusive global licensing agreements with Artimplant AB, a Swedish biomaterials and orthobiologics company, to develop and market four new spacer implants for treating osteoarthritis in small bones and joints using Artimplant's Artelon(R) biomaterials platform.

The four new agreements expand significantly the SBI-Artimplant licensing relationship. SBI had earlier agreed on a global marketing license for the Artelon(R) Spacer CMC-I, a biodegradable implant for treating osteoarthritis at the base of the thumb, a condition prevalent among patients over the age of 50, especially women.

Anthony G. Viscogliosi, Chairman & CEO of SBI, said: "These spacer implants are designed to help the body heal itself. The unique properties of Artelon(R) implants are now being recognized by U.S. surgeons, as they have been elsewhere in the world, as a promising early-stage treatment of osteoarthritis in the thumb. Based on this experience, these surgeons see great potential for treating degenerative joints of the wrist and forefoot."

As a result, Artimplant has now granted to SBI exclusive licenses related to the use of Artelon(R) biomaterial for certain new applications in the small bones and joints of the upper and lower extremities. These exclusive rights have been extended to:

* Artelon(R) STT Spacer -- a spacer for osteoarthritis in the scaphotrapezotrapezoidal joint of the hands; * Artelon(R) Arthroscopic CMC-I Spacer -- intended for arthroscopic implantation in the thumb base joint; * Artelon(R) DRU Spacer -- intended to treat osteoarthritis in the distal radio-ulnar joint of the wrist; * Artelon(R) MTP Spacer - intended to treat osteoarthritis in the metatarsophalangeal joints of the foot. These indications have not yet been approved for use in the U.S.

Tord Lendau, CEO of Artimplant, said: "SBI is a strong partner for Artimplant because of its goal to become the world leader in the surgical treatment of small bones and joints, a segment of the orthopedic market that is growing rapidly."

Initially, it is planned that Artimplant will develop the four new products in addition to the Artelon(R) Spacer CMC-I. The CMC-I received a 510(k) approval for sale in the U.S. by the FDA in September 2004 and, according to SBI, is being used by more than 50 hand surgeons across the country.

Terrence O'Donovan, MD, a prominent Glen Burnie, Maryland hand surgeon who has completed the most Artelon(R) Spacer CMC-I implants so far, in the U.S., said: "The post-operative effect of the spacer on patients has been significant pain reduction and a marked increase in function -- or pinch strength. These results are very encouraging although it will require years before reaching any clinical conclusions."

Alejandro Badia, MD, a leading hand surgeon based in Miami, Florida, who together with Dr. O'Donovan, conducted a skills workshop for surgeons at the annual American Society for Surgery of the Hand (in San Antonio, TX, Sept. 22-24) noted that: "The use of tissue-sparing technology holds immense promise in treating basal thumb osteoarthritis that particularly afflicts women -- predominantly peri-menopausal. We believe that procedures capable of restoring function are a compelling alternative in lieu of drug therapy or more aggressive surgical procedures that are currently performed."

Mr. Viscogliosi said: "The principal feature of Artelon(R) technology is the material's proven biocompatibility. By preserving the bony anatomy of the hand, the Artelon(R) Spacer CMC-I buffers the bone-on-bone contact consistent with osteoarthritic joint degeneration.

"This outcome is central to our philosophy of supporting surgeons and technologies whose object is to restore motion and functionality -- thereby enhancing the patient's quality of life. It also reflects our policy of working closely with surgeons who share our desire to foster innovation designed to restore function by preserving as much natural tissue as possible and not simply eliminating pain," Viscogliosi added.

Michael Simpson, President and COO of SBI, said: "During the nine months or so that surgeons in the U.S. have been implanting the Artelon(R) Spacer CMC-I, it has become evident that the material has potential well beyond the treatment of basal thumb osteoarthritis. For us to help develop these new applications, we are delighted to have negotiated these new agreements with Artimplant."

About SBI

Small Bone Innovations, LLC was founded in 2004 by Viscogliosi Bros., LLC, (VB), the New York-based merchant banking firm that specializes in the musculoskeletal/orthopedic sector. VB created SBI as the first company to focus purely on small bone & joint science. By integrating established companies and professionals in the field, SBI today offers a broad, clinically proven portfolio of products and technology to treat trauma and diseases in small bones & joints.

VB's acquisitions and technology licenses include: Avanta Orthopaedics, Inc. (finger/hand/wrist/elbow arthroplasty and trauma products -- USA); Envision Manufacturing, Inc.(implant manufacturing -- USA); Actipore (TM)(porous metal technology -- Canada); Artelon (R)(biologically active & biodegradable technology - Sweden); Xtremi-T, LLC (bioabsorbable trauma technology -- USA); and Fixano, S.A.S. (broad line of small bone & joint implants -- France).

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About Viscogliosi Bros., LLC

Established by Marc R. Viscogliosi, John J. Viscogliosi and Anthony G. Viscogliosi in New York City in 1999, VB was the first venture capital/private equity and merchant banking firm dedicated to the musculoskeletal/orthopedics sector of the health care industry. Today, VB is a leading independent firm with a mission to create, build and finance companies founded on innovations developed by surgeons and uniquely focused on "life changing" musculoskeletal/orthopedic technologies. VB has worldwide surgeon, industry and trade relationships and significant financial expertise in the musculoskeletal/orthopedic sector.

As principals of VB, the Viscogliosi brothers have a combined total of more than 35 years experience analyzing and investing in the musculoskeletal/orthopedics sector. The have pioneered innovative financial, strategic and management initiatives for companies in the sector, from start-up, seed and development stage all the way to exit, while helping thousands of people lead better lives through the orthopedic and spinal products marketed and sold by the companies they have assisted in financing and developing.

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About Artimplant AB

Artimplant is a public company based in Vastra Frolunda, Sweden and is listed on the Stockholm Exchange, O-list. Artelon(R) is a degradable polyurethane-urea patented biomaterial that acts as a temporary support for healing tissue. For additional information, please contact: Tord Lendau, CEO, phone +46 (0)31 746 56 00, +46 (0)708 369 403, email: or visit:

Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of risks and uncertainties impacting the Company's business including increased competition; the ability of the Company to expand its operations and to attract and retain qualified professionals; technological obsolescence; general economic conditions; and other risks.

Small Bone Innovations LLC

CONTACT: Anthony Viscogliosi, +1-212-583-0370; or Brian Ruby, +1-203-705-9218, cell: +1-203-545-3422

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