Lima moves the needle within virtual orthopaedics

EQT portfolio company Lima continues to innovate at the intersection of healthcare and technology by digitizing the pre-operative stages of orthopaedic surgery. With the newly launched Smart SPACE 3D platform, doctors are able to plan and position implants virtually before even meeting their patients.

A lot has happened within the field of orthopaedics since the Italian entrepreneurial Lualdi family founded LimaCorporate (“Lima”) in 1945. The company, which products cover a wide range of total joint reconstruction, has a long history of innovation and R&D and is considered a pioneer in applying additive manufacturing technology to the orthopaedic industry. Today, Lima is a global leader in the manufacturing of 3D printed orthopaedic implants for large joint and extremities reconstruction, including revision and custom-made implants for shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.

Since acquired by EQT in 2016, the strategy has been focused on accelerating growth and further penetrating Lima’s existing markets with a key focus on the US - the world’s largest orthopaedic market. In 2019, Lima acquired the US-based TechMah Medical, a medical device software company focusing on digital technologies dedicated to orthopaedic surgery. The following year, Lima announced a unique collaboration with the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, the country’s top-ranked musculoskeletal health and orthopaedic hospital, to open the first point-of-care 3D manufacturing facility on hospital grounds.

Drawing on EQT’s expertise within healthcare and technology, Lima has made significant investments and continued advancements in its innovation and digital capabilities. During EQT’s ownership period, the company has made a number of new product developments to expand its hardware portfolio, regulatory resources for increased market penetration and clinical affairs to provide scientific evidence sustaining Lima’s technology.

On 17 March 2020, Lima reached a historical milestone as the first surgical procedure was performed on a patient in the US using its “Smart SPACE” digital platform. Smart SPACE, which has been developed in collaboration with TechMah Medical, provides surgeons with virtual, pre-operative 3D planning and intra-operative surgical management with real-time feedback to the surgeon on the implant’s positioning, delivering performance and precision. The software is based on a proprietary machine learning algorithm, built from an extensive database of morphological data points, which continues to grow every day. Smart SPACE also allows surgeons to create 3D patient-specific guides for an even more tailored procedure.

Luigi Ferrari, CEO at Lima, commented: “We are delighted that the first clinical case, which was performed in Phoenix, Arizona, went smoothly and that the patient has recovered quickly. Lima expects that Smart SPACE will lead to higher quality and reliable results for these surgical procedures, facilitating pre and post-op planning for surgeons, as well as increase accessibility for hospitals. The successful development of Smart SPACE has been possible much thanks to investments and long-term support from EQT, and Lima is happy to be backed by such a strong owner as we now enter our next phase of growth with the objective to transform orthopaedics.”

Michael Bauer, Partner at EQT and Co-Head of EQT's Healthcare Sector Team, added: “Despite these challenging times when COVID-19 is impacting us all one way or the other, we are happy to see that Lima’s level of innovation and novelty within joint and extremities reconstruction continue to excel. Smart SPACE represents yet another example of Lima’s passion for improving patients’ lives and challenges the status quo on how care is delivered. EQT is proud to support Lima and will continue to invest in the company’s long-term development.”

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