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Colfax successor Enovis charts med-tech future

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Enovis, a public med-tech company quietly headquartered near Wilmington, has split from a conglomerate, innovating on surgical implants and even AR-assisted tools like Arvis, seen here. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ENOVIS

WILMINGTON – For the last half decade, a prominent global medical technology company has been run out of an unassuming suite in a Little Falls office complex.

Today known as Enovis, the company is a second chapter for Colfax Corp., a diversified conglomerate that recently reorganized to set its sights on a more defined vision of growing its products and services.

Founded 27 years ago by brothers Steven and Mitchell Rales, who had previously founded another major conglomerate Danaher Corp., Colfax began with industrial roots. It had a diverse portfolio of products across segments ranging from transmissions to fluid handling, fabrication technologies to air and gas handling.

CEO Matt Trerotola | PHOTO COURTESY OF ENOVIS

In 2015, however, former DuPont executive Matt Trerotola took over Colfax at a time of change.

“Back then, there was a really big industrial down cycle in things like oil, gas, mining and marine,” the chief executive recalled, noting that Colfax’s portfolio took a bruising during the period.

Seeking to protect the company from future downswing cycles, Trerotola moved it toward medical technology, acquiring DJO Global, a decades-old orthopedic products manufacturer, in 2019. Then last year, the company began exploring a split of Colfax, so the industrial and med-tech segments could better drive growth strategies and attract investors interested in their business lines.

“It’s been a really exciting kind of rebirth,” Trerotola told Delaware Business Times.

In April, Colfax completed the split of the company to create two new public companies: ESAB Corp. would keep the industrial assets while Enovis retained the medical technology. The new name is a play on “innovation” and “vision,” with an O or circle at its center in a nod to Colfax’s continuous improvement philosophy adapted from the Japanese Kaizen model made famous by Toyota.

“It’s part of what has made our company strong and great historically, and it’s part of what we know can make Enovis great going forward,” Trerotola said. “It’s about having a toolkit, but it is also very much about culture, and having a culture that is customer-focused.”

While the COVID pandemic forced Enovis into remote work like all employers, it did allow the company an opportunity to host training sessions for leadership to strengthen its culture and philosophy, Trerotola said.

Enovis, and formerly Colfax Corp., is headquartered at the Little Falls Centre near Greenville. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

The company retains its Delaware roots for two key reasons: Trerotola lives here and has recruited executives to the area, and it previously acquired LiteCure, a med-tech startup in New Castle. The company’s roughly 80 employees in Delaware are split between LiteCure and its central administration.

Outside of Delaware, Enovis employs about 5,000 people, including at large sites in Texas and Southern California, but also internationally in places like Switzerland, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and China.

Trerotola said he doesn’t plan to move the company’s headquarters because of the high quality of life that executives have found in Delaware.

“I moved here from Illinois where I was commuting 30 miles a day. Today I commute 3 miles,” he noted. “I think when people learn enough, they find a really high quality of life moving to this area.”

Enovis has also had great success recruiting from the University of Delaware’s highly regarded physical therapy program, along with other Philadelphia-area programs, Trerotola noted.

Today, Enovis expects to do about $1.6 billion in revenue this year, which is an increase of more than 30% since it acquired DJO in 2019, Trerotola said. It’s also acquired more than 10 other small companies since then to continue growing its product pipeline and market share.

“We’ve already grown our med-tech business by a third, even across the pandemic, which I don’t think there’s a lot of companies that have that kind of growth through that time period,” Trerotola said.

Its core products include hip, knee and shoulder replacement implants, a U.S. market that is expected to grow from about $46 billion last year to $71 billion by 2030, primarily due to the increasing number of Baby Boomers maturing, according to a recent report by The Brainy Insights.

Trerotola said the market is also expanding due to an increasing move toward procedures being done in outpatient settings.

“More and more hospitals and surgeons are trying to move things into an environment where a patient can come in the morning and get their surgery and go home. That is by far the fastest growing part of the surgical implant market and COVID accelerated that for sure,” he noted.

In preparation for increasing outpatient surgeries as well, Enovis recently acquired Insight Medical Systems, a Texas company it had previously invested in that has developed the first augmented reality (AR) surgical tool to be cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The headset, known as Arvis, looks like traditional surgical goggles, but are plugged into the AR system.

“As they’re doing the surgery, they can see their surgical plan laid on top of the bones of the patient and they can use it to position where and how they make their cuts,” Trerotola explained, noting the procedure is also recorded through the headset. “It’s like looking through the windshield of your car while the navigation provides your turns.”

By providing the plans atop a patient’s body, it will reduce errors in procedures. The headset is also obviously much smaller than other robotics-assisted surgical tools, which can be the size of a refrigerator, and comes with a much smaller cost, allowing it to be more widely used. To date, more than 200 surgeries in the U.S. have been completed using Arvis, according to Enovis.

While the company is currently doing only about a third of its sales overseas right now, Enovis has invested in a growing international presence. Its focus on American sales is due in part to the fact that the U.S. spends more per capita on orthopedic surgeries than any other country, Trerotola said.

“We can probably get to 50-50 at some point not too far down the path, but the U.S. will still be our biggest and most important market,” he noted.

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