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3i co-leads VC's largest orthopaedics investment to date in Small Bone Innovations

3i, world leader in private equity and venture capital, today announces its active participation in the venture capital industry's largest ever investment in orthopaedic devices for New York based Small Bone Innovations, Inc.

At this point 3i is co-leading with NGN Capital, each with $12m in a total $42.2m investment round in SBI. 3i''s Boston based head of US venture capital, Allan Ferguson and 3i''s Paris based director Olivier Litzka are taking active board roles working with the company''s proven management team to drive growth in the US and Europe.

SBI was founded in 2004 by orthopaedics investors, the Viscogliosi brothers, who have grown the business through several acquisitions to date. Today SBI''s specialist orthopaedic products are used by surgeons to treat critical and painful small bone and joint injuries in patients, due to dehabilitating conditions such as arthritis but also through trauma.

Allan Ferguson, said "I was pleased to work with my 3i colleagues in Paris, Lyon and Munich on this exciting venture, which clearly underscores the international dimensions of this enterprise. It''s worth noting that SBI''s products are already being sold in 28 countries. As we see it, that represents the beginning of a truly global business. "
Olivier Litzka added: "Given industry estimates valuing this part of the orthopaedics market at $1.4bn, we feel that SBI has emerged as the clear leader marking out this poorly served territory as their own, for years to come."

"Small Bone Innovations concentrates on a critical area of health care," said Anthony G. Viscogliosi, SBI''s Chairman and CEO. "Injuries to small bones dramatically alter quality of life and it''s clear that as our population ages, more and more of us will be handicapped by diseases - like arthritis - that affects the hands and feet," he said. "SBI brings together the leading technology and the best minds in the field to address the need for new approaches to small bone medical science."

3i''s experience and focus in specialist orthopaedics is demonstrated through its long track record of investments, for example with two French companies, both experts in spinal surgery technologies;  Spine Next, sold to Abbott for $60m in 2004 and Sofamor, which merged first with Danek and later with Medtronic in a deal valued at over $3bn in 1998. 3i''s international industry contacts will help SBI become the industry''s primary source of orthopaedics products in this poorly served and rapidly expanding market. 

Ropes & Gray advised 3i on the deal.

Notes to editors

About 3i
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders. 
In the 6 months to 30 September 2005, 3i achieved realizations of over £1bn and invested £835m, including co-investment funds, of which 3i''s Venture Capital business invested £58m in early stage technology companies globally across four specialist sectors: communications, software, healthcare and electronics, semiconductors and advanced technologies ("ESAT"). During 2005, 3i''s VC healthcare team invested in Carmel Pharma, Ulthera, Endosense, Triage wireless and elbion. It has been a strong year for successful realisations with trade sales of Arakis, NeoPharma, PharMetrics, SpineNext and Arexis and IPOs for ProStrakan, Arpida, Paion, Jerini, Phoqus and Ardana.   For more information, go to:

About SBI
Small Bone Innovations, Inc was founded in 2004 by Viscogliosi Bros, LLC (VB), the New York based merchant banking firm specializing in the musculoskeletal / orthopaedic sector. VB created SBI as the first company to focus purely on small bone and joint science. By integrating established companies and professionals in the field, SBI today offers a broad, clinically proven portfolio of products and technology to treat trauma and diseases in small bones and joints.
VB''s acquisitions and technology licenses include: Avanta Orthopaedics (hand/wrist/elbow arthroplasty and trauma products - USA); Envision (implant manufacturing - USA); ActiporeT (porous metal technology - Canada); Artelon® (biologically active and biodegradable tehnology - Sweden); Xtremi-T (resorbable trauma technology - USA); and Fixano, S.A.S. (broad line of small bone & joint implants - France).  For more information on SBI,

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