Smith & Nephew

Smith & Nephew can't make you hip, but it can make you a hip. Focusing on orthopedics, wound care, and endoscopy, the firm makes products to repair joints, skin, soft tissue, and bone. The company's orthopedics division makes hip, knee, and shoulder replacements, in addition to fixation and bone-growth devices used to repair broken bones. Smith & Nephew also makes arthroscopes, blades, digital cameras, and other minimally invasive surgical products through its endoscopy division. Its advanced wound management division manufactures and sells bandages and dressings used to treat a variety of injuries. The company operates in more than 90 countries worldwide.

Geographic Reach

Although Smith & Nephew is headquartered in the UK, several of its main operating units are based in the US, and more than 40% of its sales come from the US market.

In addition to operating its own plants in the US, Europe, and Asia, Smith & Nephew contracts out select manufacturing functions to third parties, usually to lower costs or to obtain specialized services.

Sales and Marketing

Smith & Nephew markets its products directly to patients, specialty physicians, and wholesale product distributors. It also sells its products through third-party representatives in select emerging markets such as China, though the company is working to grow in these markets by expanding its international sales infrastructure.


The company's strategy for operational growth also includes developing or acquiring new products, strengthening its stance in core geographic markets, and widening the demographic makeup of its customers.

As the company faces increasing competitive pressures and economic challenges (such as rising deferrals of joint replacement surgeries) in the core orthopedic market, Smith & Nephew is working to include younger patients in the division's marketing outreach efforts, while continuing to provide innovative trauma and clinical therapy products for its existing customer base.

It is also working to introduce new products in the orthopedic reconstruction market, aiming to differentiate its new devices by allowing for extended implant life cycles, faster healing, and more efficient operating procedures. In 2010 the orthopedics division launched the VLP foot and ankle trauma plating system and the Visionaire imaging tool.

The company's endoscopic division is focused on carving a niche in the field of joint and ligament repair, especially in sports medicine (arthroscopy) procedures. Smith & Nephew is capitalizing on the growing acceptance and use of minimally invasive tools in this market. The endoscopy division introduced a number of new suture products in 2010, including the Bioraptor knotless suture anchor used to fix torn cartilage in hip and shoulder joint procedures.

The company is looking to further advance its technology base in its wound management division to expand its presence in the market, especially in the areas of fluid management, infection control, and negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT).

Mergers and Acquisitions

The company added to its NPWT pipeline and intellectual property portfolio in 2012 when group company Smith & Nephew, Inc., acquired Kalypto Medical, which makes the NPD 1000, a portable, ambulatory NPWT system. The firm has traditionally expanded through a number of such small acquisitions, though it does occasionally buy up larger rivals.

One large purchase came at the end of 2012, when Smith & Nephew acquired substantially all of the assets of Healthpoint Biotherapeutics for some $782 million. The purchase added wound care products including bioactive debridement, regeneration, and dermal repair products in the form of ointments, gels, and skin matrix implants.

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