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Rapid growth for Sheffield biomaterials company

A Sheffield company that makes artificial bone used by surgeons in more than 50 countries is expanding.

Ceramisys manufactures ReproBone, which is used as a synthetic bone graft material.

The product, which comes in block, granular or paste form, is used instead of, or to supplement, a patient’s own bone in orthopaedic and dental surgery.

ReproBone is already used on every continent in the world and in the last month alone the company has taken on distributors in five new countries, with turnover expected to exceed £1m this year.

Last year Ceramisys moved to a purpose-built facility in Hillsborough, where it is carrying out new product research and looking to take on more staff.

The expansion is being backed by Creative Sheffield, which has helped Ceramisys build relationships with leading surgeons, giving the company more standing in the medical device market.

Ceramisys was founded in 2001 by Wayne Austin, a former Sheffield University chemistry graduate.

The company’s first product gained its regulatory approval in 2003, with the the full product range now approved for use in most countries.

ReproBone is used to repair bone in surgical procedures, including non-healing fractures, defects caused by removal bone tumours, revision hip replacements and deformities.

The material helps regenerate the bone and within a few months it is broken down and replaced by new healthy bone.

Wayne said:

“The main advantages of the ReproBone products are that patients don’t need to have a second operation site to collect bone to fill the defect, so it takes away the risk and trauma associated with that.

“From the surgeon’s point of view it is easy to use and available in unlimited quantities.”

Wayne added:

“It is really important for us to be held in high regard by surgeons and one of the barriers to growth we initially encountered was gaining confidence in the product from healthcare providers across the world.

“Being recognised by opinion leaders in the orthopaedic and dental fields is extremely important in order to compete with the big multinationals and increase our global market share.”

Creative Sheffield is Sheffield City Council’s economic development function and a partner in the South Yorkshire Sector Growth Enhancement Programme (SYSGEP), which is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Yorkshire and The Humber ERDF Programme 2007-13.

Support from SYSGEP and funding from the council’s Threshold Company Initiative has helped Ceramisys demonstrate its ReproBonerange at international conferences, build relationships with high profile surgeons and increase the clinical evidence which demonstrates the product’s efficacy.

Creative Sheffield’s sector growth manager for healthcare technologies, Philippa Hedley-Takhar, said:

“Ceramisys is a great example of the exciting world-class biomedical industries we have in the city.

“Sheffield really is becoming a centre for excellence in healthcare technology.

“It’s really pleasing that we have been able to help Ceramisys on the next step to growth.

“The company was expanding, but with a little bit of extra help we can push them on to the next level.”

Wayne Austin
Wayne Austin

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