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Wright Inaugurates Outreach Effort

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Orthopedic devices maker Wright Medical Group (WMGI) recently reported the inauguration of its MiToe patient outreach effort to develop a better understanding of different treatments for hammertoes. The company has developed MiToe as the brand for its hammertoe offerings, which includes the Pro-Toe VO Hammertoe Fixation System. In addition, Wright Medical’s MiToe hammertoe related website is now live.  

The company’s Pro-Toe VO Hammertoe Fixation System along with other offerings, such as the Inbone Total Ankle Replacement System, may be viewed at Wright Medical’s booth at the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (:AOFAS) meeting, at San Diego, during June 20 to June 23, 2012.    

Hammertoes are a frequently occurring deformity of the lesser toes. It is estimated that about 0.5 million surgeries are carried out annually to treat this deformity. A large proportion of these cases utilize wire pins, but some patients complain of problems such as restricted activities.

Sophisticated implant design has rendered hammertoe implants, such as the Pro-Toe VO Hammertoe Fixation System, a practical surgical option for many patients. The implant corrects the deformity and pain associated with hammertoes while obviating the complications associated with wires.

There are, however, several risks involved with foot surgery, which need to be discussed with the doctor. Potential problems include inflammation, infection, pain, allergic reaction, swelling, implant rejection, etc.    

While inaugurating the MiToe patient outreach effort, which includes the website, Wright Medical stated that it was focusing its effort on the worst victims of hammertoes, i.e., women in the age group of 40 years to 60 years. In this manner, the company hopes to grow its foot and ankle operations at a more rapid rate than the market.  

Wright’s focus on niche technologies lends some support amid economic cyclicality. Moving forward, revenue growth will be supported by new product launches. Moreover, new deals in extremities are expected to bolster growth in this segment. The company’s restructuring initiatives should also boost future profitability.

Our views on the company are moderated by intense competition from larger players and pricing pressure.  Wright Medical competes with much bigger names such as Zimmer Holdings (ZMH), Stryker (SYK) and Smith & Nephew (SNN). Moreover, the company remains exposed to procedure volume headwind. Our Neutral recommendation is supported by a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

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