A Sheffield implant company has clinched a pioneering deal in China after gaining state approval for its products.
JRI Orthopaedics is set to supply 10,000 hips to AK Medical in Beijing over the next five years, worth a minimum of £5 million.
The potential is huge and we see this as a significant market
The products are designed and made in Sheffield and will be sold as a premium product, strengthening the Chapeltown company’s foothold in China and the Far East.
It comes after the firm last year signed a £4m deal to make hips in Sheffield and designed by AK Medical – the country’s largest domestic orthopaedic manufacturer.
Keith Jackson, JRI Orthopaedics chief executive, said: “The potential is huge and we see this as a significant market for the company.
“There is a really good appetite for high-quality, innovative British brands. Our precision manufacturing capabilities mean we have defied convention to manufacture Chinese-designed products for the Chinese market here in Sheffield.
“But, securing regulatory approval from the Chinese Food and Drink Administration to sell our own products to Chinese orthopaedic surgeons is a huge step.”
JRI Orthopaedics’s products were formally launched at the Chinese Orthopaedic Association congress in Bejiing where the distribution deal with AK Medical was signed.
The Chapeltown-based company secured a new, bigger order to make AK Medical implants in Sheffield next year.
It is also submitting product registrations in Japan and has signed a new distribution partner in Australia.
JRI Orthopaedics employs 115 people.
It was the first in the world to develop a hydroxyapatite ceramic coating on hip replacements – a synthetic version of the natural mineral present in bones – and developed the Furlong cementless implant that bonds with bone, creating the possibility of a hip for life.
JRI is wholly-owned by the charity Orthopaedic Research UK and has donated £12m over the last 10 years to fund research into bone and joint disease at centres of excellence across the country.