Lifestyle, Patient Stories, Product

Anika at 30: Milestones that shaped a joint preservation leader

It’s been an exciting 30 years for Anika, and we’ll be marking this important milestone with a series of blog posts! In the first, we’re looking back at a few of Anika’s significant achievements over the years. For our full history, check out our timeline.

Founded in 1992, Anika began as a company focused on harnessing the benefits of hyaluronic acid for osteoarthritis pain, and has evolved and expanded into a global joint preservation company that creates and delivers innovative advancements in early intervention orthopedic care, benefiting patients around the globe. Our areas of expertise include osteoarthritis pain management, regenerative solutions, soft tissue sports medicine technologies, and bone preserving joint implants. Critical to our success are the partnerships we’ve forged with practicing physicians, who help us understand and develop our cutting-edge portfolio of joint preservation products that restore active living to millions of people worldwide and help them get back to the activities they love. 

Let’s take a look at some important milestones in Anika’s 30-year history:

Our Origins

Since its inception, Anika has been contributing to quality patient outcomes by developing and delivering meaningful therapies in early intervention orthopedic care, ranging from osteoarthritis (OA) pain management to regenerative therapies. This history of innovation began with our market-leading hyaluronic acid-based viscosupplements. 

While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are various conservative ways to treat the symptoms, including physical therapy, over-the-counter pain medications, or lifestyle changes such as weight loss. When those more conservative treatments fail to achieve adequate relief, patients may try viscosupplementation, which has been shown to be highly effective for alleviating the discomfort of knee osteoarthritis. 

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the human body, and can be found in the eyes, skin, joints, cartilage, and more. As we age, the amount of hyaluronic acid the body produces naturally decreases. Viscosupplementation involves injecting hyaluronic acid back into the knee joint in either a single injection or a series of 3-4 injections, to improve lubrication, allowing the knee to move with less pain and friction.

Anika first introduced Orthovisc®, its multi-injection viscosupplement, in 1996*, with nearly 19 million treatments performed globally since its launch. Orthovisc and Monovisc (its single-injection viscosupplement), are the company’s foundational products, and can be found around the world, including in the US, marketed & distributed exclusively by DePuy Mitek (J&J). Since 2018, Monovisc and Orthovisc, have maintained the market leading position of being the #1 prescribed viscosupplement franchise in the US.

Adding to Anika’s viscosupplementation portfolio, the company developed Cingal, the first and only approved** one-injection hyaluronic acid plus steroid combination viscosupplement for osteoarthritis knee pain, which has been proven to provide rapid short-term pain relief in addition to long-term pain relief up to 26 weeks.

Our ability to add HA back into the body easily and safely sets the stage for our pioneering regenerative solutions.

Regenerative Medicine

In orthopedics, regenerative medicine has been used to accelerate the restoration of joints, reduce pain and inflammation, and improve joint function. Anika acquired the technology used in Hyalofast®***, a one-step hyaluronic acid matrix for cartilage repair, in 2009, which is now sold in over 30 countries outside of the US. Through this technology, the company deepened their understanding of hyaluronic acid (HA) and developed new ways to harness its properties. A natural gel-like substance found throughout the body, HA plays a significant role in many biological processes, helping to encourage cell growth and differentiation, heal wounds, and fight inflammation.

Tactoset® is an injectable calcium phosphate, HA-enhanced bone repair therapy for the treatment of bone voids and other bone defects, including insufficiency or stress fractures. It follows the regenerative medicine playbook because once injected, it hardens and mimics the properties of bone, then remodels into healthy bone over time. Although still in its infancy, regenerative medicine holds great promise in the field of orthopedics and Anika is at the forefront of capitalizing on its tremendous potential. Tactoset was FDA cleared in 2019 for treatment of insufficiency fractures, and in late 2021, Tactoset received an additional clearance, expanding its use to include augmentation of hardware, such as soft tissue anchors to support poor quality bone in surgical repair procedures. This expands Tactoset’s addressable market to include augmentation of suture anchor fixation in addition to treatment of skeletal system defects such as insufficiency fractures.

Joint Preservation

In 2003, the first Arthrosurface anatomic joint preservation shoulder implant surgery occurred in the United States. These procedures offer many benefits to patients over traditional total joint replacements. Joint preservation implants recreate the native shape of the joint and remove minimal bone, so post-surgery, patients can experience less pain and can regain their active lifestyles. In addition, since preservations involve removing minimal bone, this results in quick recoveries with increased range of motion. Clinical studies are also confirming that preserving approaches are very successful at reducing pain and improving joint function. Reference a recent Shoulder publication rather than knee please

Anika’s revolutionary joint preservation technology unlocked a whole new reality for those who have arthritis especially in upper and lower extremities. And as time would show, the speed at which Anika was able to achieve such impressive and successful orthopedic surgical feats would prove to be one of the company’s signature traits.

Sports Medicine

Successful companies are not afraid of evolving into bigger and better versions of themselves. So, when Anika acquired Parcus Medical in 2020, it was time for Anika to use its expertise to tackle a new challenge: sports medicine and soft tissue repair.

Suppose an avid baseball player tears their rotator cuff. This painful injury can quickly sideline an athlete or limit a person’s ability to work. If surgery is required, an orthopedic surgeon will likely use a suture anchor to reattach muscle and tendon to bone. The goal for this type of rotator cuff repair is to bring the tendon back to a more anatomical position and compress it to the bone to allow for biologic healing.

New suture anchor innovations include the use of biodegradable materials which provide support as the body heals and then are absorbed back into the body over time. One of Anika’s regenerative solutions, Tactoset, an injectable bone substitute, can now be used to augment, or provide support, for suture anchors in poor quality bone, linking Anika’s regenerative medicines technology to its soft tissue repair solutions.

Anika’s Twist AP Biocomposite Screw-In Suture Anchor and other innovative sports medicine products have cemented Anika’s position as a joint preservation leader.

Our Future

This is a busy and invigorating time for Anika. Many new innovative products are in the pipeline that bring unique strengths to our portfolio, including plans to bring Cingal and Hyalofast to the United States. Our diverse and comprehensive portfolio of products helps surgeons preserve more of a patient’s native anatomy, maintain & restore motion, and repair & reconstruct damaged bone, ligaments, and tendons. And most importantly, they help us fulfill our mission to get patients back to pain-free, active lifestyles.

The future is bright, and we at Anika are thrilled to see what is in store. Thank you for your continued support! #RestoreActiveLiving #StayActive #30YearsofAnika

* Orthovisc received CE mark approval in 1996, and FDA approval in 2004.

** Cingal is not approved for use in the United States. Cingal is CE Mark approved and Health Canada approved.

*** Hyalofast is not approved for use in the United States. Hyalofast is CE Mark approved.