Wright Medical’s Purchase Of Biomimetic Isn’t Paying Off…Yet

Sales and earnings are down at Memphis-based Wright Medical Group. The company is still waiting for its purchase of a Brentwood biotech firm to pay off.

The FDA is testing Augment's effectiveness in ankle fusions and as treatment for Tendinosis, also known as Tennis Elbow. Image/Wright Medical Group

The FDA is testing Augment’s effectiveness in ankle fusions and as treatment for Tendinosis, also known as Tennis Elbow. Image/Wright Medical Group

Wright completed its $190 million dollar acquisition of Biomimetic just two months ago. By now, company officials were hoping the FDA would approve Biomimetic’s signature drug: Augment. It’s supposed to help regrow bone and serve as a replacement for painful bone grafts. It’s already available in Canada and Australia, but US regulators have delayed Augment’s use in this country many times.

Wright Medical now says they’re expecting approval late this year or early next. CEO Bob Palimisano says he hasn’t heard anything from FDA officials, but he thinks that’s a good sign.

“The ball’s in their hands,” he says. “We feel really good about our application. And nobody wants to hear (from the FDA) more than I do.”

Investors are eager to hear, too. Approval of Augment could lead to a huge windfall for the company, but the wait is likely to cause serious short term pain. Palimisano says Wright will likely operate at a loss for most of this year.

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