VP Europe & Business Development

Q How long have you been with the company?

A Since January 2006, I started the European subsidiary of Pioneer Surgical (PST) in the Netherlands.

Q What is your professional background?

A After finishing my medical degree and clinical practise, I started my career building up Stryker Endoscopy in the Benelux some twenty years ago. Subsequently I took full management responsibility for introduction of BMP-7 in the European market for Stryker Biotech. This was continued at St. Francis Medical Technology where I held full P&L responsibilities for the introduction of the X STOP Interspinous Decompression device in Europe, Middle East and Oceania. In 2006 I started for PST with the market launch of the NUBAC™ Disc Arthroplasty System. During the last year our product portfolio was expanded to the complete spinal product line of PST.

Q What made you choose to work for Pioneer?

A In this industry it is a rare opportunity for professionals to launch revolutionary new treatments. I’ve been lucky enough to have had this chance several times now. When PST came presenting themselves it was obvious that they had not just one single product, but a whole range that had the potential to really make a difference. It was what they thrive on.

Q How did the company begin and how long has it been running?

A Pioneer Surgical Technology is truly a surgeon-driven company. Pioneer Surgical Technology’s first product, the Songer Spinal Cable System, was introduced to the market in 1992 and this was the start of the spinal and orthopaedic surgical equipment company. In 2007, the company also entered the world of Biologics by acquiring two biologics companies – Angstrom™ Medica and Encelle. Currently we have some 260 employees and a manufacturing site in Marquette, MI, USA of 110.000 square feet.

Q What is the company focus and what do you offer the spinal industry?

A At Pioneer Surgical Technology our spinal devices are designed with surgeons for surgeons to really make a difference. We aim at delivering cost-effective solutions for surgical procedures that have proven difficult for both surgeons and patients. A good example of this is our NUBAC Lumbar Disc Arthroplasty Implant, which is the worlds’ first Disc Arthroplasty that can be implanted from posterior and which has published clinical outcomes that are potentially better than a TDA.

Q How many employees do you have?

A In 2007 we grew our staff from 185 to 250 worldwide. The European staff is currently a small team of nine, including most of my former team involved in the European introduction of the X STOP. The sales is further supported by a network of Sales Partners in Europe.

Q Do you have new products on the horizon?

A In 2008 two products will be added to our unique Pioneer Peek on Peek line, our Patented P3 Technology. These products are a unilateral Interspinous Decompression System ‘BacJac™’ and the Cervical Disc Arthroplasty ‘NuNec™’. The BacJac combines all our knowledge of existing interspinous decompression devices with a unique unilateral design which simplifies the surgery even more and shortens surgery time.<br />
Next to our P3 technology also other spinal products will be added. Examples are the SlimFuse™ Anterior Cervical Plating System and the Quantum™ Complex Spine. The SlimFuse plates require only one screw per level which cuts surgical time and require less retraction leading to less surgical site irritation and avoids the typical postoperative issues with swallowing.

Within the next few months, Pioneer anticipates that it will introduce at least three more products to the market including: Cannulated Pedicle Screw for the Quantum system, CrossFuse™ lateral VBR system in combination with our unique radiolucent ‘Clarity™’ retractor system, and the 1st ever structural nano-hydroxyapatite intervertebral cage for cervical applications.

Q What makes you different from your competitors?

A Pioneer is just MAD: ‘Making a Difference’. With a strong background as Original Equipment Manufacturer for partners like DePuy Spine, Synthes and Zimmer and a very strong input from surgeons we have shown to be able to develop spinal technologies that really make a difference.

Q How do you see the future for Pioneer in this industry?

A Clearly we are still on the up slope in spinal surgical technology “innovation curve” so this is a very exciting time and Pioneer is dedicated to play a significant role in this future.

Q How successful have you been up to date?

A With the market introduction of the NUBAC Disc Arthroplasty this technology begins to gain more and more acceptance in more and more European countries. Currently over 200 patients have received NUBAC Disc Arthroplasty with good to excellent clinical results up to two year represented by an improvement of pain (VAS) with 70.5% and in improvement of the ODI score with 81.1%. We hope to expand this in other European countries as well as with our existing and new product portfolio.