DePuy Synthes Companies has a very rich history – a history of innovation, of working with some of the greatest minds in the industry and of making a difference in the lives of tens of millions of patients around the world.
And it all began with a splint.
Back in 1895, a 35-year-old chemist and pharmaceutical salesman named Revra DePuy came up with the idea of starting a business to manufacture fiber splints that could be customized to fit patients and would be an advance over the wooden splints that were commonly used in the late nineteenth century.
DePuy opened his business, which he named DePuy Manufacturing Company, in a hotel room in downtown Warsaw, a city in northern Indiana that is home to several natural lakes and which DePuy had grown fond of during his work-related travels.
Even before Revra DePuy made his first sale, he made history. His business became the first orthopaedic manufacturing business in the world, and his decision to set up shop in Warsaw was the catalyst for Warsaw becoming the “Orthopaedic Capital of the World.®”
Over the next quarter century, until his death in 1921, Revra DePuy continued to make splints and grow his business. He replaced his fiber splints with wire cloth splints. He added more than a dozen employees to the payroll. He also complemented his mail-order business with a small team of salesmen, one of whom was Justin Zimmer, who later started his own splint manufacturing company in Warsaw.
In the decades following Revra DePuy’s death, the orthopaedics industry changed dramatically. New scientific advances led to the development of artificial joints, as well as techniques for correcting spinal deformities, repairing broken bones with internal fixation devices and many other innovations. DePuy Manufacturing not only adapted to the changing orthopaedic industry, it helped shape it. Through a series of leaders, owners, acquisitions, collaborations and joint ventures, DePuy Manufacturing transformed from a company that made splints to a leader in developing and manufacturing implants and instruments to treat a wide range of diseases and disorders of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems.
Along the way, there were many company “firsts.” DePuy introduced the first mobile bearing knee system in the United States, the LCS® Knee System. It pioneered POROCOAT® Porous Coating, which is composed of sintered alloy beads that allow biological fixation to bone without the use of bone cement. During the 1980’s, DePuy’s AML® Hip System became the first cementless porous-coated implant indicated for biological fixation in the world.
Innovation and growth were further fueled by several mergers and acquisitions. In 1990, DePuy’s parent company at the time acquired Chas. F. Thackray Limited (Leeds, United Kingdom). Thackray played a key role in the development of cemented fixation through its work with Sir John Charnley, the “father” of total hip replacement. DePuy’s work in biologic fixation and Thackray’s contributions to cemented fixation continue to shape new innovations to this day. Interestingly, not only did DePuy go on to manufacture and market the CHARNLEY Hip for many years , it also had marketing rights for some time to the Müller® Hip, named after Swiss orthopaedic surgeon Maurice E. Müller, whose cemented straight stem has remained virtually unchanged since its inception decades ago.
In 1998, Johnson & Johnson, the world’s largest healthcare company, acquired DePuy, by then known as DePuy, Inc. Later, in 2012, Johnson & Johnson acquired global medical device company Synthes, Inc., and combined that company with the DePuy franchise to create the world’s largest orthopaedic and neurological business.
Today, DePuy Synthes Companies employs approximately 18,000 people across 60 countries and generates $10 billion in annual sales. Most importantly, its deep and broad portfolio supports nearly one million orthopaedic and neuro procedures worldwide annually.
Did Revra DePuy ever dream that the company he started would grow to such heights? It’s anyone’s guess. But one thing is for sure: Revra DePuy set out to make a difference for patients, and the company that bears his name today remains committed to that each and every day.
(not intended to be a complete history)
Revra DePuy forms DePuy Manufacturing Company in Warsaw, Indiana, and begins making splints out of fiber rather than wood. His business becomes the world’s first commercial orthopaedic manufacturer.
Chas. F. Thackray Limited is founded in Leeds, United Kingdom, initially as a retail pharmacy but soon focuses on manufacturing surgical equipment. This company will later merge with DePuy, Inc. and become DePuy International Inc., still based in Leeds.
After Thomas Codman introduces his Ether Pocket Cupping Instrument in the 1830s, a manufacturing business dedicated to medical and surgical devices is born. By the beginning of the 20th century, the company has diversified its business to include a line of medical, surgical, dental, veterinary, and ear, nose and throat instruments. Codman & Shurtleff, Inc. is born and will later play an important role in the DePuy Synthes Companies.
Codman & Shurtleff, Inc. begins a long and important relationship with Harvey Cushing, M.D., of Harvard Medical School and a leading pioneer in the field of neurosurgery. This relationship establishes Codman’s unique position in supplying the needs of neurosurgeons around the world.
The Association for the Study of Internal Fixation AO/ASIF is established in Switzerland with a mission to improve the treatment of fractures by means of surgical procedures and internal fixation with implants as opposed to external fixation of fractures by a splint or cast.
Working to provide a solution to the problem of arthritic pain and loss of joint mobility, Sir John Charnley develops the CHARNELY® Hip. Charles F. Thackray Limited begins manufacturing this artificial hip a year later. DePuy will later manufacture and sell the CHARNELY Hip when it merges with Thackray in 1990.
Codman & Shurtleff, Inc. joins the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
DePuy is acquired by Bio-Dynamics, a manufacturer of blood diagnostic equipment, located in Indianapolis, Indiana.
DePuy receives exclusive marketing rights to the Müller® Hip, developed by Swiss orthopaedic surgeon Maurice E. Müller, a pioneer in total hip replacement, whose cemented straight stem has remained virtually unchanged since its inception.
Codman introduces a prosthesis for total hip replacement, marking the beginning of the orthopaedics business of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
The Boehringer Mannheim Corporation acquires Bio-Dynamics and, in turn, DePuy.
DePuy begins offering POROCOAT® Porous Coating, a technology for sintering a porous surface to orthopaedic implants to achieve biological fixation to bone without the use of bone cement for DePuy’s devices.
DePuy introduces the AML® Hip, the first-ever cementless, porous-coated implant indicated for biological fixation.
DePuy introduces the LCS® Total Knee System, at the time the only mobile bearing knee system approved for use in the United States. The mobile bearings are designed to more closely duplicate the biomechanics of a normal knee while maintaining low contact stress between the bearing surfaces.
The CORAIL® Hip System, which features a bone-conserving surgical technique and today is the world’s most widely used cementless femoral system, was born as a result of a collaboration between two French companies. DePuy will later market this implant.
Johnson & Johnson Orthopaedics Company, a Division of Johnson & Johnson Products, Inc., introduces the P.F.C.® Modular Knee System, which features enhancements to an earlier P.F.C. Knee System that the company began commercializing in 1986.
DePuy’s parent company, Boehringer Mannheim, purchases Chas. F. Thackray Limited. Thackray now operates under the name DePuy International Limited in Leeds, United Kingdom.
DePuy jointly forms a new company with Biedermann Motech, a spinal products manufacturer located in Schwennigen, Germany. The new company, DePuy Motech Inc., develops, manufactures and markets spinal implants.
Johnson & Johnson acquires Joint Medical Products Corporation, adding the S-ROM® Modular Hip System and S-ROM® NOILES™ Rotating Hinge Knee System to its orthopaedic portfolio.
DePuy, Inc. acquires Landanger-Camus, a French-based manufacturer of hip implants, whose portfolio includes the CORAIL® Hip System.
The orthopaedics business of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies launches the P.F.C.® SIGMA® Total Knee System, which can be used in both primary and revision total knee arthroplasty.
Roche officially becomes the parent company of DePuy, Inc. (including DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.) and Boehringer Mannheim.
Johnson & Johnson acquires DePuy, Inc. in a $3.5 billion transaction.
DePuy launches the PINNACLE® Acetabular Cup System, which replaces the natural hip socket (acetabulum) and has since been provided for more than two million patients. DePuy also launches the SUMMIT® Stem for hip arthroplasty.
Mitek, the first company in the world to offer suture anchors (fixation devices for fixing tendons and ligaments to bone) becomes part of the DePuy franchise.
DePuy begins selling ORTHOVISC® High Molecular Weight Hyaluronan, a multi-injection hyaluronan treatment used to treat knee pain due to osteoarthritis.
Synthes acquires the “Synthes” trade names, trademarks and intellectual property from the AO/ASIF.
Entering into the growing aging-spine market, the DePuy franchise introduces CONFIDENCE SPINAL CEMENT SYSTEM® for vertebral compression fractures. It also launches new joint replacement products that include TRI-LOCK® Bone Preservation Stem, a bone-preserving hip stem with proprietary GRIPTION® Coating technology; and enhancements to the SIGMA® Total Knee System.
The state-of-the art DePuy manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China, officially begins operations.
DePuy Institute, LLC opens its doors in Raynham, Massachusetts to provide customers and employees training, technology and physical space to learn about the latest advances in orthopaedic and neurological care.
Johnson & Johnson acquires Synthes, Inc. in a $21.3 billion transaction. The subsequent integration of the Synthes and DePuy businesses creates the world’s most comprehensive orthopaedic and neurological company.
DePuy Synthes Companies launches the ATTUNE® Knee System, designed to help patients get back to what they enjoy sooner by optimizing how a patient’s knee replacement feels and moves.
DePuy Synthes Companies receives a total of 60 regulatory clearances and approvals in geographies around the world. Launches include the CORAIL® Revision Hip System, a bone-preserving hip system; MONOVISC® High Molecular Weight Hyaluronan, a single-injection treatment for knee pain related to osteoarthritis; and Patient-Specific Plates for Mandible for skeletal reconstruction resulting from trauma of the jawbone.
DePuy Synthes Companies acquires Utah-based Olive Medical Corporation and enters the arthroscopic visualization market to serve patients with knee, hip, and shoulder joint pain or injury. Launches across the company’s deep and broad portfolio include TFN-ADVANCED™ Proximal Femoral Nailing System for use in the treatment of hip fractures; CODMAN CERTAS® Plus Programmable Valve for use in the treatment of hydrocephalus; and the EXPEDIUM VERSE® Spinal System, an all-in-one pedicle screw system.
DePuy Synthes Companies announces a five-year cooperation agreement with the AO Foundation to enhance clinical innovation and professional education in several key orthopaedic areas. The company also expands its research facility the United Kingdom and manufacturing site in Ireland.