The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting is the world’s largest orthopedic conference with over 30,000 attendees annually that include physicians and industry representatives. As a leading preclinical CRO for orthopedic professionals, T3 Labs Orthopedic Program Director, Evan Goldberg attended the 2019 AAOS Meeting earlier this month to keep touch with the pulse of orthopedic innovation.

Here are Evan’s top takeaways.

Continuing Investment in Infection Prevention

“Infection prevention, as always, was a big topic of conversation at AAOS 2019,” Evan said. “Due to the absence of predicate devices, the regulatory pathway is challenging, and companies are investing a lot of time and money trying to get their product on the market.”

3D Printing & Personalized Care

“A relatively new focus at AAOS 2019 was the topic of personalized medicine,” he said. “This discussion was driven by the development and integration of 3D printing within the field to create custom-made devices that are specific to a patient’s anatomy.”

Earlier this year, Dr. Scott Hollister performed Georgia’s first ever procedure to place 3D printed tracheal splints in a pediatric patient. Dr. Hollister holds the Patsy and Alan Dorris Endowed Chair in Pediatric Technology, a joint initiative supported by Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Read more from Georgia Tech’s Research Horizons.

“Attending the innovative technology sessions provides a good picture of what’s next in orthopedics,” Evan explained. “Walking through the industry exhibits also gives you great insight into the latest trends in the field.”

Following the Roadmap to Product Innovation

AAOS is always a great place to meet with physicians with ideas for new devices to both improve care and reduce cost. When it comes to new devices, particularly those that require pre-market approval, innovators must invest time and money wisely to de-risk their product before it can enter the market and clinical care setting. T3 Labs often gets requests from physician innovators for an immediate GLP study. But most of the time, there are steps that should be taken prior to GLP that make for a more capital efficient process.

“We always recommend a pilot study prior to the GLP study to ensure that the device is performing as expected and the protocol is appropriate to meet the objectives of the study,” said Evan. “Sometimes, these pilot studies result in the sponsor making design changes that significantly impact performance and usability.

We have never had a sponsor say, ‘I wish I hadn’t done that pilot study.’”

GCMI Executive Director Andrew Stevenson is fond of saying, “The most expensive GLP studies are the ones you have to do twice.” Non-GLP pilot studies almost always generate a superior product and smoother commercialization pathway.

If you are a physician innovator with an idea for a new orthopedic device, contact T3 Labs today to learn how our team of experts can help you along the path from concept to commercialization.