By: 1 September 2011

Mike Tuke

Company Chairman, MatOrtho Ltd

Q: A new Orthopaedic company Mike, What is MatOrtho?

A: MatOrtho is a new independent UK Orthopaedic manufacturer with a focus on taking forward implant technologies that have shown reliable outcomes. Much of our expertise is the result of 33 years of pioneering work as Finsbury Orthopaedics Ltd which was acquired by DePuy in December 2010. MatOrtho has taken up the same sites and many of the staff from Finsbury, and has completed an asset purchase of a number of the well established Finsbury products.

Q: What Products are those?

A: Our main focus is on total knee replacement supported by Ankle, Finger and Hip Resurfacing. The Medial Rotation Knee has been used successfully since 1994 and has proved to be the least revised TKR of all in the UK NJR. The MRK, as it is sometimes colloquially known has also enjoyed an increasing awareness by many surgeons whose patients feel it performs better than other TKR types. Patient satisfaction scoring is not well understood and conventional scoring systems do not really measure it. I was intimately involved with the Medial Rotation Knee from the start and so know that it is based on observations made of normal knees which other designs have ignored to the cost of most TKR patients worldwide.

The human knee has always been recognised as needing to rotate axially as well as to hinge, this however has caused a fundamental flaw in providing AP instability which the world recognises but has chosen to address with another flawed design, the Posterior Stabilised Knee. This only provides AP stability in deeper flexion than is useful for most everyday activities. The Medial Rotation Knee addresses AP stability essentially the same way as the normal knee does with a deep ball-in-socket on the medial side and a track on the lateral side which controls axial rotation. A significantly lateralised patella track on the femur provides the lateral leverage required to AP stabilise the lateral side, just like the normal knee. An update which increases the size range and conserves more bone is currently under trial. Thus far the SAIPH TKR is showing results at least equivalent to the Medial Rotation Knee at two years in all patients. The SAIPH TKR is scheduled to be introduced later in 2011 but will not replace the Medial Rotation Knee.

The BOX ankle was developed to its current form by Finsbury with principles from the Rizzoli Institute working with academics in Oxford and has shown exceptional outcomes at five years compared with alternative implants and against arthrodesis. Part of the success is down to the unique instrumentation which ensures the surgeon has reproducible outcomes in a straightforward operation.
The PIPR finger implant is proving very successful too and is planned to be introduced to new markets. MatOrtho plans to retain an interest in Hip Resurfacing with the ADEPT which has stood the test of time as demonstrated by the UK NJR.

Q: Finsbury was renowned for innovative products that had extensive development, is this to continue with MatOrtho?

A: The products MatOrtho sets off with, as outlined above, reflect much of the Finsbury heritage of expertise and innovation. Our initial aim is to fully establish those products and introduce the SAIPH TKR to compliment the Medial Rotation Knee. Development of instruments remains a priority to allow reproducible results especially by irregular users. The world has changed in the Orthopaedic arena due to higher expectations of regulators and patients; this inevitably slows development as it takes longer to prove anything works well enough. However MatOrtho expects that insights and innovative directions will still come from such small companies, the big multinationals have shown, I think, an inability to provide this and are very slow to perform even if they get the design right.

Q: What about you, you have effectively bought much of your old business back when you could have retired?

A: I feel I have plenty of energy and experience to bring to the world of Orthopaedics and retirement was not the plan at any time. I want to concentrate on what I am best at with development ideas and forging new and better ways to provide products best suited for the more demanding patient. Also, to challenge the might of the large commercially minded marketing machines.

Q: Where are the Markets for MatOrtho?

A: MatOrtho will be present in most European countries, Australasia, Japan, Asia and of course the USA is in our sights. Having already established products and contacts means MatOrtho is not really a new business and can come to the market with some fresh new ideas and directions. Patients are getting more interested in what they are prescribed and rightly so I believe. National Joint Registries are a way for surgeons and patients alike to see what is working and the strength of the marketing by the big corporations should diminish as demands for cost effective treatment for elective procedures increase. We are all potential patients after all and there should always be a place for an honest company with a reputation for products and philosophies aimed at satisfying patients needs instead of analysts’ reports and shareholders’ returns.