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NuVasive moves into new campus to accommodate growth

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NuVasive Inc., a San Diego company that develops products for minimally invasive spinal surgery, is moving to a new campus-style facility to accommodate its growing business.

NuVasive will relocate its headquarters to a two-building campus in Sorrento Valley. The new campus-style environment will accommodate all of the company's departments in a single location and enable growth up to 300,000 square feet over the next several years. One building will be dedicated to research, product development, marketing and surgeon training activities, while the other will house the company's administrative functions as well as sales and corporate training.

The facility, located within four miles of NuVasive's current headquarters in San Diego, will allow all of the company's 300 San Diego-based shareowners to work in one location. The new campus environment provides NuVasive with increased infrastructure to accommodate its rapidly growing work force, support enhanced training and testing facilities, and provide a foundation for expanded clinical use of its, broadened product offerings.

Alex Lukianov, chairman and chief executive officer of NuVasive, said the new campus provides ample room for the company to grow beyond the next decade.

"The new campus provides a strong foundation for continued expansion, allowing us to leverage our unique culture of Absolute Responsiveness in order to achieve our next major milestone, reaching $500 million in revenues. All of our shareowners are deeply committed to this milestone. Much more than just employees, we call ourselves shareowners because since day one, everyone has direct ownership in NuVasive. The focus of this group of partners working together has been a key part of our growth, and this new environment allows us to expand that focus."

NuVasive's business experienced significant growth in 2007, with full year 2007 revenue increasing 57 percent to $154.3 million. In 2007, NuVasive's stock price rose approximately 70 percent. The company has also publicly guided Wall Street to expect mid-30 percent revenue growth per year over the next several years. The plan to achieve this growth rate is driving deeper product penetration of its existing platform of products, expanding market share in the United States, and making an entrance into select international markets such as the UK and Germany.

At the core of NuVasive's offering to spine surgeons is the XLIF, or eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion procedure, which allows surgeons to approach the spine laterally rather than through the abdomen or back. Approaching the spine through the side allows surgeons to avoid critical anatomical structures and major trauma associated with traditional spine surgery techniques, resulting in less operating time and reduced pain and blood loss. Hospitals utilizing the XLIF procedure have been able to shorten operating time by more than 50 percent, foster more rapid patient recovery (days rather than weeks), and substantially reduce the overall cost of standard spine procedures.

NuVasive's proprietary, software-driven nerve avoidance system, NeuroVision makes the lateral approach possible. NeuroVision, combined with MaXcess, a unique split-blade design retraction system; and specialized implants, like SpheRx and CoRoent, collectively form the Maximum Access Surgery (MAS) platform, a minimally disruptive system that provides surgeons with a less invasive approach for performing spinal fusion surgery.

The new campus will feature a state-of-the-art training facility that will enable NuVasive to train larger groups of surgeons in MAS and XLIF procedures, including surgeons new to the techniques as well as surgeons learning new indications. NuVasive trains approximately 400 surgeons at its headquarters each year.

"It is important for us to expand the areas of the spine that our products treat, to provide surgeons with product systems to increase operative levels and to expand clinical applications, so we can both optimize surgeon retention and attract new surgeons to our product line. For example, the lumbar-thoracic junction and the thoracic spine become an area of even greater differentiation for us as surgeons expand the lateral XLIF procedure through the MAS platform," Lukianov said.

In addition to broadening its lines, NuVasive is developing the next generation of products that focus on motion preservation for the cervical and lumbar spine. Its lead product under development, NeoDisc, is a cervical motion preservation device designed to treat cervical disc degeneration, an ailment that occurs when the flexible discs between the vertebrae in the neck begin to deteriorate.NeoDisc is currently the subject of a clinical study in the United States.

Cervical disc degeneration is often treated via spinal fusion surgery whereby the disc is removed and vertebrae locked together. NeoDisc offers an alternative to fusing the vertebrae by allowing surgeons to replace the damaged disc with a technology that replicates the cushioning and motion characteristics of an intact healthy disc. In doing so, NeoDisc has the potential to alleviate the problems associated with cervical disc degeneration while enabling patients to maintain the range of motion in their neck.

According to Lukianov, NuVasive expects to complete enrollment in the pivotal trial for NeoDisc in the first half of 2008.

"It's a product that can be used earlier in the degenerative disc process, before fusion or a total disc replacement. It's very simple to implant and totally revisable, which allows surgeons to simply remove it should they need to take the next step to complete fusion."


Rando is with The Ruth Group.

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