September 18, 2017


Duke-Georgia Tech Spinal Implant Start-UP Acquired by NuVasive

Pratt School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science (MEMS)

The start-up founded by MEMS Chair Ken Gall pioneered a novel porous PEEK technology

DURHAM, N.C. — Vertera Spine, a start-up created through research at both Duke University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been acquired by NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUVA), a leading medical device company focused on transforming spine surgery with minimally disruptive, procedurally integrated solutions.

Vertera was founded in 2013 by Ken Gall, who was in the School of Materials Science at Georgia Tech at the time and is now chair of Duke’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science.

Vertera Spine is based on a novel process to create porous PEEK (polyetherether ketone), a high strength biopolymer that allows for better bone attachment and repair following spinal surgery.

“Making a porous plastic is relatively easy, but the scientific problem Vertera solved is making the porous material high-strength and tuning the porosity so that bones stick to it,” said Gall, a noted biomaterials engineer and serial entrepreneur who worked with Bob Guldberg, the executive director of the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience at Georgia Tech, to perfect the biological and mechanical properties of the polymer.

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