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Our History

The DePuy Synthes Companies: a rich history of delivering total solutions to patients and healthcare professionals.

Since the 19th Century, the DePuy Synthes Companies have had a focused commitment on transforming the lives of patients worldwide.

Each of the companies that comprise DePuy Synthes has a celebrated history, and each has evolved to meet the needs of the changing orthopaedics and neuro marketplace. The history that weaves the fabric of the DePuy Synthes Companies is one that is rich with innovation and demonstrates sustained leadership in an ever-changing landscape of patient and professional needs.


Revra DePuy founds DePuy Manufacturing (later to become Synthes Trauma) in Warsaw, Indiana, on the promise of a fibre splint to replace the wooden barrel staves then used to set fractures.

DePuy becomes the first commercial orthopaedic manufacturer in the world.


After Thomas Codman introduces his Ether Pocket Cupping Instrument in the 1830s in Boston, Massachusetts, in the U.S.A., a manufacturing business dedicated to medical and surgical devices is born. By the beginning of the 20th century, the company had diversified its business to include a line of medical, surgical, dental, veterinary, and ear, nose and throat instruments, including popular atomizers used in the treatment of respiratory diseases. Codman & Shurtleff, Inc. is incorporated.


Codman & Shurtleff, Inc. begins a long and important relationship with Harvey Cushing, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital. Early collaborations with Dr. Cushing result in the design and manufacture of hemostatic silver clip instruments and, in 1914, his famous hypophysectomy instruments for the removal of the pituitary gland. As one of the first surgeons to specialize in surgery of the head, he is often referred to as the “father of neurosurgery.” This relationship with Cushing establishes Codman’s unique position in supplying the needs of neurosurgeons around the world.


Working with neurosurgeons James L. Poppen and Ralph B. Cloward, Codman develops and manufactures a set of instruments that allows anterior approach to the cervical spine for treatment of diseases and herniated intervertebral discs.


Codman develops Bipolar Coagulator and insulated forceps, allowing neurosurgeons to control bleeding with electrical current without fear of injuring delicate adjacent tissue.


Four prominent Swiss surgeons, Martin Allgöwer, Maurice E. Müller, Robert Schneider and Hans Willenegger, found the "Association for the Study of Internal Fixation AO/ASIF". These pioneers believe that the treatment of fractures can be drastically improved by means of surgical procedures and internal fixation with implants. They forge a strategic alliance with Mathys Medizinaltechnik, a company active in Swiss precision engineering, in order to develop and produce an integrated system of implants and instruments.


The AO/ASIF founds the laboratory for experimental surgery in Davos.


Codman partners with Dr. Albert L. Rhoton, Jr. to design sets of instruments for the new field of microsurgery.

The AO/ASIF forms a second industrial cooperation with the Straumann Institute. The AO/ASIF registers the product trademark "Synthes" and the rights for its intellectual property. As commercial licensees, Straumann and Mathys develop, produce, market and distribute Synthes products. This partnership is the basis for a highly successful development; the AO/ASIF, Mathys and Straumann become world leaders in the field of osteosynthesis.


Working to provide a solution to the problem of arthritic pain and loss of joint mobility, Sir John Charnley develops the Charnley® Hip, now manufactured and sold by DePuy Orthopaedics. This first low-friction hip implant is considered the "gold standard" in cemented hip arthroplasty.


Codman & Shurtleff, Inc. joins the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies when it is acquired by Ethicon, Inc. Two years later, Codman obtains affiliate status as a freestanding Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. In 1994, the Company moves to its present corporate headquarters in Raynham, Massachusetts, U.S.A.


Indianapolis-based diagnostics company Bio-Dynamics buys DePuy. DePuy receives exclusive marketing rights to the Müller Hip, developed by Maurice E. Müller, one of the pioneers in total hip arthroplasty.


Codman introduces a hip prosthesis for total hip replacement, marking the beginning of Johnson & Johnson Orthopaedics.


Boehringer Mannheim purchases Bio-Dynamics and, in turn, DePuy.

The entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss founds "Synthes USA", which becomes the third industrial partner of the AO/ASIF. Synthes USA starts marketing Synthes products in the USA the following year and later also in Canada.


DePuy relocates to its present location at 700 Orthopaedic Drive, Warsaw, Indiana.


DePuy Orthopaedics begins offering the unrivalled method of metal sintering, Provost® Porous Coating, enhancing the tissue in-growth of DePuy systems. This sintering process has the longest clinical history of any porous surface.


Dr. Arthur Steffee, developer of the VSP® Spine System, which popularized the use of pedicle screws and spine plates for spinal fusion, founds AcroMed in Cleveland, Ohio. (The company will later become DePuy AcroMed and is now DePuy Spine.)

The DePuy Orthopaedics AML® Hip becomes the first "cementless", porous-coated implant indicated for biological fixation in the United States.


DePuy Orthopaedics introduces the LCS® Total Knee System, then the only mobile bearing knee system approved for use in the United States. The mobile bearings are designed to more closely duplicate the biomechanics of a normal knee while maintaining low contact stress between the bearing surfaces.

The AO/ASIF is restructured and the AO Foundation is established in Davos. The AO Foundation is dedicated to basic research, development, education and clinical documentation.


Mitek is founded by Jim Nicholson and Arthur Collias, who both did their engineering graduate work at MIT—thus the company was named Mitek. In 1985, they had three employees, including themselves and a third founding partner, $3,000 in capital, and a small basement office in Canton, Massachusetts.


DePuy acquires Chevalier AG, a small Swiss orthopaedic company, and a new base for European operations takes hold in Switzerland.

Only a three-year old company, Mitek puts its first anchor, the GI, into clinical trials. This is the first human clinical trial to test suture anchors.


Mitek receives FDA approval to sell anchors in the United States and becomes the first company in the world to offer this technology.


Boehringer Mannheim purchases Charles F. Thackray Ltd. in Leeds, England. This acquisition brings together two of the world's leading manufacturers of total hip replacements. The combination of DePuy's reputation for pioneering biological fixation and Thackray's reputation for its work with cement fixation is formidable. Working with the "father" of modern hip replacement surgery, Sir John Charnley, Thackray begins manufacturing the Charnley Hip System in 1963. Thackray now operates under the name DePuy International.

Straumann sells the osteosynthesis business segment, including joint replacement, to members of its management. A new company called "Stratec Medical" emerges; Straumann continues with dental implantology products.


Synthes Spine is founded in the USA to deliver spinal surgical technology solutions.

DePuy International Ltd. is established in Leeds, England, to serve as the headquarters outside the U.S., Canada and South America.

DePuy acquires the Rotek Company in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Codman acquires Medos SARL, developer of the HAKIM® Programmable Valve.


Synthes USA, Stratec Medical and Mathys expand their business activities to include cranio-maxillofacial and spinal products as well as power tools in their product portfolio.


Expanded Optics, a Westminster, California-based arthroscope manufacturer, acquires Thackray-owned Scope Optics. DePuy, in turn, takes a 20% interest in Expanded Optics, moving DePuy into the fast- growing area of arthroscopic instruments and repair services.


DePuy jointly forms a new company with Biedermann Motech, a spinal products manufacturer located in Schwenningen, Germany. The new company, DePuy Motech Inc., develops, manufactures and markets spinal implants. This marks DePuy's re-entry into the spinal implant market.


DePuy's parent company, Corange Ltd., purchases ACE Medical Company, a manufacturer of orthopaedic trauma products in the U.S. and the number two supplier of trauma products in Japan. The purchase of ACE, a company with approximately $35 million in worldwide product sales in 1994, diversifies DePuy's position in the orthopaedic marketplace.

ETHICON, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, acquires Mitek, combining ETHICON's hundred years of experience in sutures and knowledge about absorbable materials with Mitek’s groundbreaking metallic anchors.


DePuy acquires the former Orthopedic Technology, Inc., which expands its sports medicine business. The company manufactures and markets arthroscopy instruments, tissue fixation devices, braces, ankle supports, and soft goods.

DePuy, Inc. changes its name to DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.

The P.F.C. Sigma® Total Knee System is launched, designed to provide the surgeon with surgical solutions for a variety of clinical indications.


DePuy, Inc. and the Landanger family sign an agreement for DePuy to purchase 1,939,453 shares in Landanger-Camus. Landanger-Camus is the leading French manufacturer of hip implants and one of the leading distributors of orthopaedic devices and supplies.

Roche enters into an agreement with the owners of Corange Ltd., Bermuda, to purchase all shares in Corange. Corange Ltd. is sole owner of the diagnostics and pharmaceuticals business of the Boehringer Mannheim Group. Corange also holds 84.2% of the shares in DePuy, Inc. The value of the transaction is expected to be around 11 billion.

Mitek launches Panalok, the first suture anchor composed of an absorbable material and featuring a toggle mechanism for fixation.


Roche officially becomes the parent company of DePuy and Boehringer Mannheim.

DePuy purchases Cleveland-based AcroMed, the second largest spinal company. This acquisition makes DePuy Motech AcroMed the second largest spinal company.

DePuy, the oldest manufacturer of orthopaedic implants in the United States, is acquired by Johnson & Johnson in a $3.7 billion transaction.

Mitek's second product, the GII® anchor, approved for use in 23 areas of the body, is the most widely used anchor in the world.

Codman introduces the CODMAN® HAKIM® Programmable Valve (CHPV).


Stratec Medical and Synthes USA successfully combine to create one of the world’s top medical device companies: "Synthes-Stratec".

DePuy announces that its trauma division, DePuy ACE, will relocate from El Segundo, California, to Warsaw, Indiana. Also announced is DePuy AcroMed's move from Cleveland, Ohio, to Raynham, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

DePuy AcroMed launches its first PMA-approved product, the LUMBAR I/F CAGE® System. The Lumbar I/F CAGE went through almost 10 years of clinical research prior to its commercial debut.

DePuy OrthoTech's arthroscopy product line is transferred to Mitek, a division of ETHICON, Inc. to better position related businesses within the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies


The P.F.C. SIGMA® RP (rotating platform) Knee System is launched by Synthes Trauma.

Mitek acquires Innovasive Devices, expanding the breadth of the company’s knee and shoulder portfolio.


DePuy Orthopaedics launches the PINNACLE® Acetabular Cup System, providing surgeons with the option of choosing a polyethylene or metal insert for use with the same outer titanium cup that replaces the socket of the natural hip.

Synthes-Stratec focuses on its core orthopaedic trauma activities and divests its European artificial joint replacement division.


Codman introduces the technically innovative BACTISEAL® Antimicrobial Impregnated Catheter.


Synthes-Stratec acquires Spine Solutions and its revolutionary system for total spine disc replacement called PRODISC® Total Disc Replacement. This new device offers an alternative to spinal fusion surgery. Additionally, Mathys and Synthes-Stratec agree to merge to form a leading global osteosynthesis company.

DePuy AcroMed changes its name to DePuy Spine to reflect the growth of its product portfolio and the scope of its vision for the future.

DePuy expands its portfolio in the field of orthopaedics and spine surgery with the acquisitions of Orquest, Inc., and Link Spine Group, Inc.
Mitek becomes part of the DePuy Family of Companies and is renamed DePuy Mitek, Inc.


Synthes-Stratec and Mathys complete their merger (with the exception of Northern Germany) and change their name to "Synthes".


DePuy Orthopaedics begins a direct-to-consumer education campaign through television, recognizing an unmet need to help patients better understand solutions to joint pain. Additionally, Codman launches a broad scale education campaign on normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH), designed to raise awareness about diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
In 2005, working with the U.S. Government and Military, the CODMAN® MICROSENSOR® ICP TRANSDUCER is adopted as the diagnostic standard for intracranial pressure measurement for head injury patients across all branches of the military.
DePuy Mitek begins selling ORTHOVISC® High Molecular Weight Hyaluronan in the U.S. An FDA-approved non-drug therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate knee pain due to osteoarthritis, ORTHOVISC is the only hyaluronic acid viscosupplementation injection in the market derived from ultra-pure natural hyaluronan, which is found in healthy joint fluid.


DePuy Orthopaedics acquires Hand Innovations LLC, a privately held manufacturer of widely used fracture fixation products for the upper extremities. The acquisition provides DePuy Orthopaedics with leading technology in the plating business, the fastest growing and most under-penetrated segment of the worldwide extremities market.
DePuy Orthopaedics releases the newest member of its mobile bearing knee implant family, the P.F.C. SIGMA RP-F Knee System, the only FDA-approved high flexion (deep knee bending) Rotating Platform knee replacement.

DePuy Mitek acquires Future Medical Systems' S.A. (FMS), a market leader in Europe that primarily develops, manufactures, and markets arthroscopic fluid management systems. Future Medical Systems fluid management systems have dramatically changed the treatment of demanding arthroscopic surgical procedures, such as rotator cuff repair and ACL replacement, by providing outstanding visualization of the surgical site.

Synthes acquires the "Synthes" trade names and trademarks and its intellectual property from the commercial subsidiary of the AO Foundation.


DePuy Orthopaedics launches PINNACLE® Hip Solutions, with TrueGlide™ Technology, a modular hip-bearing system that provides surgeons with the freedom to choose the bearing surface and cup option that best meets the individual needs of each patient. With Pinnacle, surgeons can choose either ultra-low wear polyethylene liners or metal inserts, all in the same titanium cup to replace the socket of the patient's natural hip.

Synthes acquires N Spine, providing solutions for posterior spinal dynamic stabilization to treat degenerative disc disease as well as stenosis.

DePuy Spine enters into a strategic collaboration with Axial Biotech, Inc. to develop a gene-based test to predict the likelihood of progression of scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine that primarily affects children.
DePuy Spine acquires assets related to the treatment of vertebral compression fractures from Disc-O-Tech Technologies to bring treatments for the aging spine to market.


Codman enters into the programmable implantable drug pump market in Europe with the introduction of the MedStream™ Programmable Infusion System, the first new pump technology for chronic intractable pain and spasticity in 20 years.

Entering into the growing aging-spine market, DePuy Spine introduces CONFIDENCE SPINAL CEMENT SYSTEM® for vertebral compression fractures. DePuy Orthopaedics launches new joint-replacement products that include TRI-LOCK® Bone Preservation Stem, a bone-preserving hip stem with proprietary GRIPTION™ technology for stability, and enhancements to the SIGMA® Total Knee System.

Synthes acquires Innomedic, a German company active in software development and computer science for medical technology applications.

DePuy Mitek lays the groundwork for increased global sports medicine awareness and treatment, training orthopaedic surgeons in China and creating long-term educational opportunities, as well as enhanced awareness of the sports medicine continuum of care.

Construction begins on The DePuy Institute, LLC in Raynham, Massachusetts. This cutting edge facility will play a vital role in DePuy’s ability to provide customers and employees training, technology and physical space to learn about the latest advances in orthopaedic and neurological care.

The state-of-the-art DePuy manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China officially begins operations, establishing production for the Medical Device & Diagnostics sector of Johnson & Johnson in China and emerging markets in the region. An Innovation Centre is established at DePuy Ireland's Cork facility with plans to carry out next generation product and process development.

Codman & Shurtleff, Inc. integrates the former Cordis Neurovascular into the business, forming Codman Neurovascular and creating the platform for a global neuroscience device company.

The DePuy Family of Companies supports the role of Johnson & Johnson as an Official Partner of the Beijing 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


DePuy International Ltd. acquires of Finsbury Orthopaedics Limited, a privately held UK-based manufacturer and global distributor of orthopaedic implants. With the acquisition of Finsbury Orthopaedics, DePuy gained several key products, including the DeltaMotion® Ceramic-on-Ceramic Hip System, the ADEPT® Metal-on-Metal Hip Resurfacing and Total Hip System.

Synthes and Kensey Nash announce strategic agreement for Extracellular matrix products.


Codman acquires Micrus Endovascular, a global developer and manufacturer of minimally invasive devices for hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke.

Synthes acquires The Anspach Effort, Inc. (Anspach), a leading global company in the high-speed surgical power tools market.


Johnson & Johnson and Synthes merge to create the world's most comprehensive portfolio of orthopaedic products and services for joint reconstruction, trauma, spine, sports medicine and cranio-maxillofacial therapies. The DePuy Synthes Companies are also a global leader in neurological solutions with products and services for neurosurgery, neurovascular, spine and cranio-maxillofacial therapies.

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