Ian Kirkwood

Director, International Marketing & Sales, BONESUPPORT

Q: When did you join BONESUPPORT and what attracted you to the company?

A: I joined Bonesupport in June 2006 as the first commercial person in an otherwise research and development focused company. I was attracted by the company’s CERAMENT™ technology and the challenge of being part of a start up company at the leading edge of bringing new solutions to the orthopaedic and spine community.

Q: Why do you find your job rewarding?

A: Having worked in various medical technology companies for the past 17 years it is refreshing to work in a segment which is at the forefront of medical technology. I have worked in an international environment for 25 years and have lived in Scotland, Sweden and Singapore. The opportunity to work across cultures has always appealed to me and it is particularly rewarding to be able to share my experience with younger colleagues and associates.
Coming into a young organisation with the opportunity to form and grow all aspects of the operation is fantastic. Learning by doing and being exposed to so many intelligent ideas and concepts is truly inspiring.

Q: Does the role involve a lot of travelling?

A: Yes, my wife still doesn’t believe that I do actually live in Sweden. Right now we are in a very intensive phase in our commercialisation. We set up a US operation as well as Central European office in 2007 with focus on market preparation and sales channel development. It is important to meet face to face as well as to understand the market from the inside. For me that means spending time where our customers are.

Q: Why did BONESUPPORT choose this particular location?

A: In a way it was a natural choice to establish the company in Lund. The basic science was developed in conjunction with Professor Lars Lidgren at Lund University Hospital. IDEON Science Park, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, was established around the breadth of Life Science and Information Technology research ideas coming out of the local university.

Q: How many employees do you have, both within Europe and globally?

A: We are still a small company with the majority of our 29 employees based in Lund. We have 4 employees in our US Sales operation and 1 in Germany. With the recent CE-Mark approval for CERAMENT™|SPINE SUPPORT and our acquisition of ULTRAZONIX® we are looking to expand, particularly in marking & sales.

Q: Do you find it difficult to recruit suitable and qualified staff?

A: It is always difficult to find the right people but we are very lucky to be able to offer a challenging and rewarding career opportunity. Bonesupport has actively promoted our concepts long before we had a product on the market. People identify with what we are trying to provide to patients and can readily appreciate the personal satisfaction in working in such a company.

Q: What is the most efficient way of advertising your products?

A: We are very active participants at relevant major congresses and exhibitions. We also use the focused opportunities available through medical journals and industry publications. Internet is certainly becoming more and more appealing and we plan a major update of our site.

Q: How closely do BONESUPPORT work with surgeons or with other companies?

A: It is absolutely critical that we work closely with our customers to test concepts and ideas as well as proving our product clinically. It is the market which is the key driver in our product development but at the same time it is important to ensure that the innovative ideas generated internally are allowed to influence potential users and key thinkers. Like all start up companies we want to bring breakthough solutions to the market.

Q: How do you go about developing new projects?

A: We listen closely to market needs. Being fairly new on the market, we still have a lot to do and it is therefore extremely important that we prioritize which projects we choose to focus on. The learning curve is steep, it is all about fastest route to revenue.

Q: Do you have any new products on the drawing board?

A: Yes, but that is all I can say!

Q: How is BONESUPPORT looking to expand further in the future?

A: We are preparing to expand geographically, initially in the main European markets and South Korea. Regulatory process means that we have to gather market intelligence and look at sales channel alternatives well in advance of actual commercial entry. We will also be expanding our product portfolio through the introduction of both line extensions and the additional platform which Ultrazonix® gives.