Kyocera inks deal to make medical devices in Vancouver

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

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Kyocera Industrial Ceramics Corp. will manufacture medical devices for Amedica Corp., a Salt Lake City-based biomaterials company, at Kyocera's Vancouver manufacturing facility, the two companies have announced.

The collaboration includes the manufacture of Amedica's silicon nitride spinal interbody implant devices, the companies said in a news release. The biomaterial silicon nitride has been shown to help promote bone growth and has anti-infective properties, Amedica said. The company said it has sold more than 14,000 of these devices worldwide.

Kyocera Industrial Ceramics Corp., which has its Vancouver operations at 5713 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., is headquartered in Hendersonville, N.C. It specializes in applying advanced ceramic materials and components to solve the most demanding engineering challenges, according to its website. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kyocera International, Inc. of San Diego, the North American holding company for Kyocera Corp., based in Japan.

Jay Scovie, a spokesman for Kyocera International, said the potential impact of the deal on operations and employment in Vancouver is unknown.

"Obviously, it's good news for Kyocera and Amedica, although it's probably too early to speculate on the possible impact to the Vancouver community specifically," Scovie said by telephone.

Privately-owned Amedica Corp., founded in 1996, markets spinal-fusion products and is developing products for use in total hip and knee joint replacements. Eric Olson, the company's president and CEO, said Kyocera is the ideal partner for Amedica to expand production of Amedica's biomaterial devices because of its expertise in advanced ceramics production.

"We are seeing an increasing interest for our Silicon Nitride interbody devices and increased interest in this material for use in other applications and want to ensure a consistent supply for surgeons and, more importantly, patients," he said.

During the year ended March 31, 2013, Kyocera's net sales totaled approximately $13.6 billion. It is ranked Number 492 on Forbes magazine's 2013 "Global 2000" listing of the world's largest publicly traded companies.