JRI Orthopaedics acquired by Chinese firm

JRI Orthopaedics acquired by Chinese firm

The award-winning healthcare manufacturer has been acquired by China’s leading orthopaedic implant company AK Medical for £16.7m.

The Sheffield-based company, which was wholly owned by the charity Orthopaedic Research UK (ORUK), now becomes part of one of the world’s largest 3D-printed orthopaedic implant manufacturers.

The synergy created by combining the two businesses will create a larger and stronger group within the international orthopaedic sector.

JRI Orthopaedics has worked closely with the Beijing-based AK Medical, China’s largest domestic orthopaedic implant producer, for the last three years as part of a strategic growth strategy.

After securing regulatory approval to sell its own high quality cemented, uncemented and revision hip product portfolio in China, JRI Orthopaedics signed an exclusive distribution deal with AK Medical.

It has also been sub-manufacturing AK Medical implants at its state-of-the-art Chapeltown manufacturing plant where further investment is now planned.

The acquisition will see JRI Orthopaedics continuing as an autonomous business with no change to the company’s management team or Sheffield workforce.

Jerry Agass, JRI Orthopaedics joint-managing director, said: “The JRI Board and our staff are excited by the agreement reached with AK Medical and look forward to a stronger future as a combined business.

“We have been working successfully together in the Chinese market for the last three years and there is a strong commercial fit between the two companies, both in terms of their business strategies and ethics.

“AK Medical attaches great importance and value to the specialised skills, knowledge and experience of the management and employees at JRI and this was a key attraction of the business.

“Both brands will continue but combining the two businesses will create a larger and stronger group within the international orthopaedic sector and will open up a number of joint opportunities that will benefit customers worldwide.”

AK Medical is a public company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It was the first medical device company to commercialize the application of 3D-printing technology in orthopaedic joint and spine replacement implants in China.

It commands a leading position in the Chinese orthopaedic joint replacement market with a revenue of £42million and recorded sales growth of more than 30% last year.

Commenting on the deal, Mr. Li Zhijiang, chairman and chief executive officer of AK Medical, said: “We are delighted that JRI Orthopaedics will be joining AK Medical. 

“This represents a significant step forward in achieving my vision of improving the quality of life of patients across the world.”

Founded in 1970 by orthopaedic surgeon Mr Ronald Furlong, JRI Orthopaedics was the first company in world orthopedics to produce a hip implant with a Hydroxyapatite coating enabling a biological bond with the patient’s bone and so the prospect of a hip for life.

Today, it has world-class expertise in the design, development and manufacture of a portfolio of orthopaedic implants and systems which deliver the best solutions in joint reconstruction, repair and regeneration.

The company, which employs over 100 people, has internationally recognized research and development capabilities and this expertise will be further developed by the new Group with the creation of a global R&D centre in the UK.

The company will continue to work in collaboration with leading universities, commercial organisations and clinical experts and a new, global education and training facility for surgeons and employees will be developed in the UK.

BDO Global's northern mergers and acquisitions team worked in the lead advisory role in the sale of JRI Orthopaedics. The BDO team included Jamie Austin and Mark Andrews from the firm's specialist Life Sciences team. 

Jason Whitworth said of the deal: “This deal is a great outcome for ORUK, which will continue to invest in exciting research, development and training projects, as well as for AK Medical, which has acquired an award-winning brand.

"JRI will benefit from being part of a larger group in this sector and is also intending to establish a global R&D centre in the UK to build on its international reputation for research, which is good news for the region and the wider UK life sciences sector.”