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Stryker selling controversial bone growth line for $60 million

Orthopedics company Stryker Corp. has agreed to sell a product line including the bone growth putty that has caused the company so much legal grief to Olympus Corp. for $60 million.

Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Stryker plans to record a loss on the sale of its OP-1 product line — which includes OP-1 implant, OP-1 putty, Opgenra and Osigraft — as well as a manufacturing plant in Lebanon, N.H., of between $75 million and $80 million. That would erase between 19 cents and 20 cents a share from the company’s fourth-quarter earnings.

The planned sale is “aligned with strategic objectives for both companies,” Stryker said in a written statement. The Michigan company plans to redirect a portion of its OP-1 R&D spending to other projects, “which it believes offer the potential for greater shareholder returns, including its clinical efforts already underway with BMP-7 for potential use in osteoarthritis and research into other non-orthopaedic applications,” it said.

Commercialization of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-7 is not expected for at least five years because of the early stage of the company’s clinical efforts and the expected scope of data to be required by the Food and Drug Administration, the company said.

Stryker Biotech, its former president and three sales reps have been sparing with federal prosecutors about criminal charges pending against them in a case alleging the illegal promotion of bone putties, including OP-1 putty.

In August, it took less than 24 hours — and $1.35 million — for Stryker to settle claims by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley that its biotech unit illegally promoted the combined use of a pair of its bone growth products and falsified Institutional Review Board documents.

Stryker, which recently agreed to buy Boston Scientific’s neurovascular unit for $1.5 billion, still expects to make between $3.27 and $3.30 per share in 2010, an increase of between 10 percent and 12 percent from 2009. The company’s shares lost 58 cents, or 1 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange Monday, ending at $51.53.

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