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The medtech innovator joins a long list of businesses pulling products and services from Russia to show support for Ukraine.

Norbert Sparrow

March 4, 2022

2 Min Read
hands painted in colors of Ukraine flag form heart symbol
Image courtesy of Alamy/Delphotos

It has been heartening and, frankly, stunning to see the world come together as one — with a handful of exceptions — to denounce Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. The business world also has been inspired by the courage of Ukraine’s citizenry and leaders — Exxon and Boeing have suspended operations in Russia, Apple pulled its products and limited access to its services, and Disney has stopped distributing its films in the Russian market. You can add medical technology company Conformis to that list.

The maker of orthopedic devices announced this week that it would suspend all of its distribution operations and business development in Russia and would not seek future business opportunities in the country until further notice. It recently signed a distribution deal in Russia as part of an international expansion campaign.

“Given the unnecessary and unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine instigated by the Russian leadership, we can no longer in good conscience, sell our products or services in the Russian market,” said Conformis CEO and President Mark Augusti. “We urge other global companies to respond in similar fashion. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine and the relatives of Conformis employees who live there.”

Conformis is known for its custom knee implants, which are designed based on “image-to-implant technology” to ensure an individualized, patient-specific fit. CT scan data is used to create a 3D model of the patient's knee, which is used to design the personalized knee implant system, explains Conformis on its website. The advanced scan data also drives the creation of the patient's personalized surgical plan and 3D-printed surgical instruments.

The company also claims that its technology is the only one currently available that maintains the knee's medial and lateral joint lines, which can be different heights, through the use of individual polyethelene inserts. Off-the-shelf implants use a single piece.

In a somewhat surprising move, Conformis also began offering standard, off-the-shelf knee implants in August 2020. Some analysts questioned the strategy, as reported in sister publication MD+DI.

"This may open a few doors in [ambulatory surgery centers], but we worry it will also poke holes in the case for knee customization, which has been foundational for [Conformis] since inception," said Ryan Zimmerman, a medtech analyst at BTIG.

For CEO Augusti, the decision made financial sense, however. Conformis' new knee offering will allow the company to deliver a complete and efficient knee-replacement package profitably at a lower selling price than the company's fully personalized knee implants, said Augusti at the time.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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