Corporate mergers: J & J buys Synthes

Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson and orthopedic specialty device maker Syntheshave agreed to a merger deal, worth $21.3 billion (USD)

Synthes, Inc., founded in Switzerland, has long been a leader in the fields of orthopedic trauma and craniofacial surgery. They manufacture specialized bone-holding plates, screws and OR equipment, and have always been very active in clinical education efforts.

J&J already owns DePuy Orthopedics. I suspect they think that the combination will dominate the orthopedic market. J&J already owns Ethicon (sutures), Mentor (breast implants), Cordis (cardiac & vascular surgery), Codman (neurosurgery) and Lifescan (diabetes)…so they have a huge range of medical subsidiaries already. The deal must still pass U.S financial regulatory agencies.

Both DePuy and Synthes have had some recent problems with the FDA. DePuy had to recall artificial hip components. A Synthes subsidiary, Norian, was charged by the FDA with improper promotion of bone cement for non-approved / off-label uses.

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