- Bioventus, which makes devices to treat pain and stimulate bone healing, said Ken Reali has stepped down as CEO and director, after the company’s board informed him on Wednesday that it had determined he would “transition from the role,” according to a regulatory filing.
- Reali’s departure comes after the company canceled a plan to acquire CartiHeal, and after a 92% drop in Bioventus’ share price under Reali.
- Anthony Bihl, who was CEO of Bioventus from 2013 until his retirement in 2020, took over as interim CEO. The board has initiated a search process to identify a permanent CEO, Bioventus said in a press release.
Bioventus, which was spun off in 2012 from orthopedic device maker Smith & Nephew, announced in July 2022 that it had completed the purchase of CartiHeal, a maker of knee osteoarthritis treatments.
It was not immediately clear what prompted Reali’s departure, which comes after the company pulled out of an agreement to purchase CartiHeal, whose Agili-C device, which can be used to treat cartilage and joint surface lesions in the knee, recently won FDA approval.
In February, Bioventus had announced a settlement with CartiHeal that provided the option to eliminate $350 million in deferred purchase price obligations, but apparently the acquisition was too costly for Bioventus. On the company’s fourth quarter earnings call on March 31, Reali announced the deal had been abandoned, saying: “In the end, our Leadership and Board of Directors were unable to secure terms that met our criteria for retaining the business.”
Shares in Bioventus have fallen more than 92% since their peak in June 2021, but were up 3.23%, or 4 cents, to $1.28 in morning trading on Thursday, after the announcement of Reali’s departure.
William Hawkins, Bioventus’ executive chairman, said in a Thursday statement that the company is “urgently looking to address our performance and execution, unlock long-term value and deliver on the expectations of our shareholders.”
Bihl has 35 years of industry experience and currently serves as a board member for Sonendo and Spectral Medical.
“Bioventus has a strong foundation, a differentiated portfolio of leading products that drive value for patients, and significant potential across large and growing addressable markets. I look forward to leveraging my prior executive leadership experience to stabilize the Company, improve execution and enhance shareholder value as we deliver on the Company’s mission,” Bihl said.