DURHAM – Bioventus Inc. (Nasdaq: BVS) says it has elected to make a $50 million escrow payment, moving forward with an acquisition, pursuant to the company’s existing option and equity purchase agreement, of Israeli company CartiHeal Ltd.

Bioventus invested $2.5 million in the joint implant company in 2018 as a participant in a $21 million fundraising round.  In 2020, Bioventus invested an additional $15 million in the firm, and included the option to purchase the company as a part of the deal.

The option was reportedly intended to give Bioventus the option to purchase the company, if the company received FDA approval for an implant under development at the time of the $15 million investment.

According to a statement, Bioventus made the decision to acquire the company “following its review of a statistical analysis report of the pivotal clinical trial of the Agili-C implant, reimbursement coding analysis and significant market diligence including surgeon interviews with respect to Agili-C’s commercialization opportunity and ultimate market potential.”

The deal is contingent, the company noted in its statement, on CartiHeal gaining premarket approval and other conditions.  The deal could occur later this year.

“The robust data generated from the pivotal clinical trial, a randomized controlled trial with Agili-C, demonstrated superiority over surgical standard of care, microfracture and debridement, in KOOS overall compared to baseline. We believe this product could be a strong alternative for the approximately 650,000 US patients annually receiving microfracture or debridement along with other cartilage treatment options,” said Alessandra Pavesio, Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer, Bioventus in a statement. “In combination with our HA products, Agili-C represents an exciting potential new offering for our portfolio designed to address the spectrum of osteoarthritis disease.”

Durham’s Bioventus invests in Trice Medical, an orthopedics company

Bioventus bought medtech firm Bioness in a deal worth as much as $110 million, which was announced in March.  Bioventus also bought Misonix in a July deal worth about $518 million.  And last week, Bioventus announced a strategic investment in Trice Medical, in a deal that also includes exclusive rights.