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About the conference
What: OrthoTech Conference and Exhibition
When: June 5-6
Where: Grace College in Winona Lake Keynote addresses:
Wednesday morning: Nick Deeter, founder and chairman of the board, OrthoPediatrics
Wednesday afternoon: Dr. Kevin R. Stone, orthopedic surgeon and founder, the Stone Clinic
Thursday morning: Dr. Michael J. Kaplan, practicing orthopaedic surgeon/chief medical correspondent, ESPN
For registration and other information, go to http://www.canontradeshows.com/expo/ortho13/
Photos by Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Nick Deeter shows a display of the implants and instruments OrthoPediatrics in Warsaw sends out to hospitals to be used in child spinal surgeries.

Finding a niche in children’s implants

Implants and instruments are housed in metal cases and shipped to hospitals.

OrthoPediatrics’ success story isn’t exactly a secret in northeast Indiana.

It was less than two years ago that the company, which found a niche making implants for children, announced it had secured a $20 million investment from an individual investor, whose name was not disclosed.

Private investments – rather than bank loans – are where most of the funding has come for this company, which was birthed in 2006.

When the Warsaw Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce in January announced who had won awards at its annual membership dinner, OrthoPediatrics was on the list. Entrepreneur of the Year honors.

Next week, OrthoPediatrics founder Nick Deeter will have another audience to share his company’s successes with.

He’s one of the scheduled keynote speakers for the OrthoTec Conference & Exhibition June 5-6 at the Orthopedic Capital Center at Grace College in Winona Lake.

OrthoPediatrics, which is privately held, expects about $30 million in sales this year, Deeter said in an interview last week.

OrthoPediatrics has grown by focusing on implants that don’t interfere with children’s growth, Deeter said, reflecting on the company’s early success.

“I think it’s the fact that we’ve focused all of our effort on unmet need, to provide anatomically appropriate implants for kids,” he said.

About 600 people are expected to attend the OrthoTec Conference, said Nannette Melon, marketing manager, medical events for UBM Canon, which is coordinating the fourth annual event.

“Warsaw is pretty much the orthopaedic capital, so a lot of people who are coming are from within 50 miles,” Melon said.

Dr. Michael J. Kaplan, chief medical correspondent for ESPN, is also scheduled to give a keynote address.

Kaplan said he would address the challenges of delivering orthopedic care at a time when there are more patients to see and less revenue, particularly from reimbursements through government programs like Medicare, but more technology.

Kaplan, who has an office in Middlebury, Conn., and is on staff at Yale University, was feeling the time pressures on Thursday afternoon. In a brief telephone interview shortly after the lunch hour, Kaplan pointed out he had 40 patients still to see before the end of the day. A knee and shoulder specialist, Kaplan said he spent the morning doing surgery.

One of the other big changes he has noticed in health care is that the demands from patients are increasing.

“They want to get back to work and sport quicker and have less tolerance for pain,” he said.

Deeter’s company has 15 orthopedic implant systems that have FDA approval that can be used in cases of trauma – such as broken bones – or to help correct physical abnormalities. This summer, OrthoPediatrics expects to have its first sports medicine product on the market, Deeter said.

The company has 55 employees in Warsaw and about 110 salespeople, including distributors, around the U.S. Sales last year were up 76 percent from 2011, Deeter said.

Orthopediatrics’ products and techniques allow surgeons to avoid growth plates in patients. That approach is better, Deeter said, than when pediatric surgeons use products designed for adults and simply bend or cut them, “sticking it in and hoping it will work” on minors.

Deeter said he will also talk about innovation and what it takes to create an “emerging growth company.” He describes those as companies that are past the startup stage, at the break-even point or starting to make a profit, but still “a long way from being a mature company.”

lisagreen@jg.net

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