Baxano: The end is not nigh

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Spinal surgery device maker Baxano isn’t going anywhere, no matter what the blog-o-sphere says.

Privately held Baxano develops minimally invasive tools for use in spinal decompression and fusion surgeries.

Its flagship device, the iO-Flex system of flexible surgical instruments, allows for decompression of up to 4 nerve roots through a single point of access.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company is seeing 30% growth quarter over quarter and expects 2012 sales to increase by 250% over 2011, but some industry analysts are skeptical.

"If there is any truth to that number, 1 must question the intent of that forecast,"wrote the anonymous analyst at The Spine Blogger. "Was it to appease the investors? Considering that start ups like Baxano do not possess the same fire power as a Medtronic, DePuy, Nuvasive, or Globus, time is not on their side."

The Spine Blogger, which bills itself as "the people’s blog site where news, ideas, job opportunities and what’s been heard on the street can be discussed in a professional manner," garnered more than 100 comments on the Baxano report, which was entitled "Spine = Easy Money? Just Ask Baxano."

The report alleged that Baxano had let go of 20% of its workforce due to "inadequate funding and sales" and that the company was "potentially in the initially [sic] stages of a shutdown," as verified by the site’s "sources on the Street."

"That’s not true at all," Baxano marketing vice president Amie Borgstrom told MassDevice.com today. "I’m not sure where that came from."

Borgstrom confirmed that the company, which employs between 60-70 workers, had cut some jobs but said the layoffs were minimal and unrelated to any sales concerns.

"We had a small reduction in our workforce, but not a major disruption in the company," she told us. "[The layoffs] had a lot to do with looking at capital markets and the decline in med-tech venture capital. We said, ‘Let’s position ourselves to be cash-flow positive.’"

The cuts were unrelated to any missed sales or performance goals, she added. They were instead related to the medical device company’s decision to move from a direct-only sales model to a hybrid direct-and-distributed model, which meant some external reps and internal support staff were let go.

Borgstrom also denied that the company was low on funding or anywhere near a shutdown.

"We have plenty of cash right now. We are raising additional funds, but we’ve got plenty," she said.

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