- Tech Insights
"Cerapedics" is a global commercial-stage bone graft replacement company that aspires to transform the standard of care for bone repair by healing bones faster and more effectively without compromising patient safety. Their President and Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Marx, outlines how their peptide-based technology guides the patient's stem cells to produce bone, followed by remodelling and resorption of the implant materials, leaving only healthy bone. We seek to improve patient quality of life by leveraging their own biology, says Jeff. Our current FDA approval is for single level fusions of the neck. Spinal conditions drive up US healthcare expenses. Cerapedics' products are sold in the US, EU, Canada, and other countries. They just finished enrolling a clinical trial in the US, and in a couple of years, they hope to be close to getting approval to launch the next generation of their product.
As a leader, Jeff is a big believer in modeling appropriate behaviors such as respect, focus, hard work, and exceptional ethics for his team to follow. One really shouldn’t expect their people to rise above the distractions. We’re all constantly faced with delivering meaningful impact if they don’t see their leadership doing the same.
Jeff "grew up" in a company that valued trust and empowerment of its employees and pushed responsibility and decision-making down. If done properly, it's really successful, but there are risks, he adds. For him, high-quality external leadership training may complement coaching and modeling. Their local bioscience community in CO has outstanding leadership training and mentoring, and he's also benefited from executive educational programs.
They are periodically upgrading their systems for measuring and managing their business and business performance and integrating their systems to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Additionally, they have implemented a smart factory system across their manufacturing operations. This system monitors the performance of their processes in real time, providing useful information for optimization and even prediction of future and potential failure modes so that they can be addressed proactively. Their goal is to reduce their downtime and increase their productivity.
Our focus has been on delivering meaningful clinical benefits to patients along with high quality clinical data, explains Jeff. We believe our principal differentiators are the unique mechanism of action of our product as well as the strong data that we can provide our customers demonstrating real benefits to patients. Our core client group is spine surgeons. Jeff says, "We try to help them give their patients better and more predictable clinical outcomes and to help them get better with cost-effective cervical fusion."
They’ve been demonstrating exceptional growth since their initial US product introduction in 2016, and Jeff believes their best opportunities are still to come. They’re continuing to invest heavily in expanding the potential for more future growth through basic science, clinical research, and product development, as well as commercial and operational infrastructure.
Jeff had a mentor early in his career who liked to say that there are a million ways for a business to fail, and all you need to do is avoid all of them. For him, the best pathway to success is to find or define true market differentiation based on something that really matters to your customers. If you can focus everything around optimizing, protecting, and building true differentiation, then all of the challenges you face will likely be solvable.
In addition to having real differentiation in your product offering, Jeff thinks the most important factor in driving exceptional performance is judicious risk-taking. This could be another entire discussion, but being willing to take calibrated risks that others aren’t willing to take is often the difference between winning and losing, or winning and winning big. For Jeff, this applies to each of them as individuals, as leaders, and to the organizations that they lead. Taking this back to leadership, it’s important to model the willingness to take selected risks and to build a culture that discusses and allows for risk-taking. This is the only way to have a culture of innovation and to be able to change your market or the world.
We’re operating in a unique space with approximately 5000 potential spine surgeon customers in the US and numerous competitive products, states Jeff. In addition to a lot of hard work by a team of amazing people, it’s our differentiation and data that allow us to have best-in-class performance in this challenging environment.
Chief Operating Officer
Cerapedics is a global, commercial-stage ortho-biologics company that aspires to transform the standard of care for bone repair, healing bones faster and at higher rates, without compromising safety, so that patients can live their healthiest lives. Bone grafts, including Cerapedics’ products, are used in over four million annual spine, orthopedics, trauma and interventional procedures world-wide. Cerapedics’ product, i-FACTOR®, is FDA approved for single level cervical spinal fusions in the United States. Cerapedics’ next-generation product is currently being evaluated for use in lumbar interbody fusion through ASPIRE, a pivotal IDE study, and has been granted a Breakthrough Device Designation by the FDA. Cerapedics is headquartered in Westminster, CO.