CHAMPAIGN — A company that makes surgical implants has decided to base its U.S. headquarters in Champaign.
CarboFix Orthopedics Ltd., which makes orthopedic trauma implants from carbon fiber, plans to base its U.S. subsidiary — CarboFix Inc. — at 3362 Big Pine Trail in the Pinehurst Commons office park in north Champaign.
For now, the company is operating from a temporary office at 1701 Broadmoor Drive, C, said John Alleman, CarboFix's U.S. vice president. CarboFix hopes to move to the Big Pine Trail office later this month or in early May, he said.
CarboFix Orthopedics, based in Herzeliya, Israel, makes orthopedic trauma implants, such as rods, plates and screws, from carbon fiber and polymer — rather than the conventional materials of stainless steel, titanium and titanium alloys.
Alleman said carbon fiber allows the implant to bear a heavier load and to weather "the motion of the human body" better.
It's helpful in orthopedic oncology situations where the patient has had significant bone loss, he said.
Plus, carbon fiber implants are "radiolucent," giving doctors a clearer image on what's going on in the body. Without the image distortions caused by conventional implants, doctors are better able to monitor fracture healing, he said.
The Champaign office is expected to handle sales, marketing and logistics at the outset, and Alleman said he plans to start with four U.S. employees and grow to six to 10 in a couple years.
Depending on how well the U.S. market takes off, the company may consider adding manufacturing and engineering functions in the U.S.
At this point, all manufacturing is done in Israel and Canada, and much of CarboFix's business has been in Europe.
The company's products have also been used in the U.S., but until recently CarboFix didn't have sales and technical support people here.
Alleman said he chose Champaign as the U.S. base for CarboFix operations, partly because:
— He had ties to the area.
— It's centrally located.
— The company wants to build relations with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois.
Alleman grew up in Kankakee, and his parents, Jim and Janet Barker Alleman, were from the Champaign-Urbana area.
John Alleman's maternal grandfather, Tom Barker Jr., farmed in the Bondville area. Alleman's paternal grandfather, Norville James Alleman, was a mechanical engineer employed by the UI.
John Alleman once worked in field sales for Synthes, a Swiss-based maker of orthopedic trauma implants, and later worked as sales manager and sales director for DePuy, the orthopedic company of Johnson & Johnson. Alleman said CarboFix recruited him for the new position.
CarboFix has regional sales managers and distributes its products through independent medical-device distributors around the country. Those distributors, in turn, work with surgeons and hospitals.
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