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Contacts: Anthony G. Viscogliosi, Viscogliosi Bros, LLC (212) 583-9700 ext. 100
Chris Storer, Creative Partners (203) 952-6403

BIODEGRABLE CMC SPACERS FOR BASAL THUMB OA DRIVE GROWTH AT SMALL BONE INNOVATIONS, INC.


Surgeons in U.S. and Europe treating more basal thumb OA cases using Artelon® technology

CHICAGO, IL – March 23, 2006 - Small Bone Innovations, Inc. (SBI) reported that annual sales in the U.S. and Europe of its biodegradable Artelon® Spacer CMC-I exceeded 500 units used in treating osteoarthritis (OA) at the base of the thumb. The condition particularly affects as many as one-in-four post-menopausal mothers, according to the company.
 
In its first full year of operation, since its formal introduction at the 2005 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) annual convention, SBI has been marketing 42 products used to treat arthritis or trauma in small bones and joints. Of these, the company said the CMC-I Spacer is a big seller.
 
“In one short year, SBI has quickly become identified as the single source provider of products and services to treat bones and joints from the finger tips to the shoulder, and from the toes to below the knee. The Spacer has been our only biologics offering but it has taken off like a rocket,” Anthony G. Viscogliosi, SBI’s Chairman and CEO noted.
 
The Spacer technology was developed by Artimplant AB of Sweden (STO: ARTI-B) and sold worldwide by SBI under an exclusive marketing license. SBI has similar licenses to develop and sell Artelon® fiber-based products for use in the hand, wrist, fingers and feet.
 
“The success of the Artelon® Spacer, according to many of the 100-plus surgeons using the technology, is its ability to relieve pain and restore function through improving pinch strength without needing to harvest tissue from the patient’s body – unlike other basal thumb procedures,” Viscogliosi said. “It is also a relatively simple procedure to teach and perform – requiring no special instrumentation or unfamiliar techniques,” he added.
 
In addition to its U.S. and European markets, Artimplant has recently received government approvals that will enable SBI to market the Artelon® Spacer in Canada and Australia. Also, earlier this month, Artimplant received a European CE mark that will facilitate SBI’s marketing of the Artelon® DRU Spacer intended for treatment of OA in the distal radio-ulnar (DRU) joint of the wrist.
 
Michael Simpson, SBI’s President and COO, said: “To complement the Artelon® Spacer, we are adding several other Artelon® designs for repairing or replacing the CMC joint – all under our original license – to complete a portfolio of biodegradable implants for the thumb.”
 
Among those surgeons currently implanting the Spacer, Alejandro Badia, MD, a leading hand surgeon based in Miami, FL, said: “The use of tissue-sparing technology holds immense promise. Procedures capable of restoring function are a compelling alternative to drug therapy or more aggressive surgical procedures.”
 
SBI said it plans to initiate a new series of clinical trials in the U.S. to explore the full potential of the Artelon® technology within the bounds of its existing licensing agreement with Artimplant AB.

As well as post-menopausal women, SBI estimates that 90 percent of women in the 75-79 age bracket have symptomatic OA in the hands – among the 21 million Americans who suffer from the disease in one form or another. According to the company, only heart disease causes more chronic disability than does OA. SBI also noted that 25 percent of athletic injuries occur in the hand and wrist.

About SBI
Small Bone Innovations, LLC (SBI) was founded in 2004 by Viscogliosi Bros. LLC., (VB), the New York-based merchant banking firm that specializes in the musculoskeletal /orthopedic sector. VB created SBI as the first company to focus purely on small bone & joint science. By integrating established companies and professionals in the field, SBI today offers a broad, clinically proven portfolio of products and technologies to treat trauma and diseases in small bones & joints.

VB’s acquisitions and technology licenses include: Avanta Orthopaedics (hand/wrist/elbow arthroplasty and trauma products – USA); Envision (implant manufacturing – USA); Actipore™ (porous metal technology – Canada); Artelon® (biologically active & biodegradable technology – Sweden); Xtremi-T (resorbable trauma technology – USA); Fixano, S.A.S. (orthopedics, trauma and spine products - France).

Small Bone Innovations, Inc. (SBI)completed a Series B financing, raising a record total of $42.2 million, in January, 2006 Based on data provided by Venture Source, this was the largest venture capital investment ever recorded in the field of orthopedic devices.

For more information on SBI visit: www.totalsmallbone.com

About Artimplant AB
Artimplant is a public company based in Västra Frölunda, Sweden and is listed on the Stockholm Exchange, O-list. Artelon® is a degradable polyurethane-urea patented biomaterial that acts as a temporary support for healing tissue. For additional information, please contact: Tord Lendau, CEO, phone +46 (0)31 746 56 00, +46 (0)708 369 403, email: tord.lendau@artimplant.se or visit: www.artimplant.com
 
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Viscogliosi Bros., LLC is not an investment adviser, money manager, asset manager or otherwise give investment advice.