Swabian Precision Saves Lives Worldwide

Interview with Florian Tyrs, Vice President Global Operations & General Manager of JOTEC GmbH

Florian Tyrs, Vice President Global Operations & General Manager of JOTEC GmbH
Florian Tyrs, Vice President Global Operations & General Manager of JOTEC GmbH

The aorta, also referred to as the main artery, is the largest vessel within the human body and therefore extremely important. Diseases of this vessel must be treated with utmost care and require special materials during surgical procedures. JOTEC GmbH, based in Hechingen in Swabia, specializes in aortic prostheses and other products for this vessel and is one of the leading providers worldwide.

"As a small competitor of very large corporations, quality plays a very important role for us," explains Florian Tyrs, Vice President Global Operations & General Manager of JOTEC GmbH, which belongs to the parent company Artivion. "We manufacture our products here at the Hechingen site and have established ourselves as a one-stop shop." Specialization is also a major advantage of JOTEC. While products for aortic surgery are just one segment among many others for the large medical technology corporations, the Swabians are entirely focused on innovative solutions in this area.

Minimally Invasive Solutions

"We are a medical technology company that manufactures conventional polyester prostheses for open surgical procedures," describes Florian Tyrs one area of application of the products. "These prostheses are used for aneurysms, i.e., pathological bulges of the aorta. During the surgery, this aneurysm is cut out and replaced with our textile prosthesis."

Jotec - Look into the Production
State-of-the-art Manufacturing: Look into the Production
Jotec - Headquarters in Hechingen
At home in Swabia: the headquarters in Hechingen

Another medical device by JOTEC are PTFE prostheses, which replace calcified parts of vessels in arms and legs. Moreover, JOTEC has been active in the field of minimally invasive surgery since 2003. Here, implants are inserted through small incisions – for example, in the groin – and with the help of introducer systems placed over the diseased area of the aorta. Since they relieve the pressure from the diseased vessel, they prevent the possible bursting of the aorta and thus the death of the patient.

Volume increased sixfold

JOTEC GmbH was founded in the year 2000 and was acquired by the US-based CryoLife group in 2017/2018, which today operates under the name Artivion. "I have been with JOTEC for 18 years and was involved in the original development of products for endovascular surgery," Florian Tyrs describes. "In 2011, I took over production management and was able to increase the number of employees and the production volume sixfold. In 2020, I took over the management with a colleague, and since 2023, I have been solely responsible. Moreover, since June 2023, I have also been in charge of Global Operations within our parent company Artivion."

About a third of Artivion Group's approximately 350 million EUR in sales is accounted for by JOTEC. In total, Artivion employs more than 1,500 people, including 680 at JOTEC.

Jotec - NEXUS DUO™ Aortic Arch Stent Graft System
Saves human lives: NEXUS DUO™ Aortic Arch Stent Graft System
Jotec - On-X® Ascending Aortic Prosthesis
Made in Germany: On-X® Ascending Aortic Prosthesis

Competent Field Service

"Clinics with vascular surgery and cardiology departments are the recipients of our products," says the General Manager. "Our aortic prostheses are approved in over 100 countries worldwide. In Germany, the Benelux countries, Italy, Greece, Poland, Switzerland, Brazil, and Singapore, we supply our customers directly, while in all other countries we work with dealers. Our customers are looked after by our field service representatives. These are often medical implant specialists who have worked in clinics."

For marketing, JOTEC relies on participating in conferences, such as the European Association For Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS), as well as exhibitions for medical technology products. Additionally, the company offers its own workshops to familiarize users with the aortic prostheses.

A Lot of Handicraft

"As we see ourselves as a manufacturing company with a lot of manual work, digitalization does not play such a big role in production," clarifies Florian Tyrs. "However, in terms of our organizational processes, we are well positioned digitally." Regarding sustainability, JOTEC naturally meets the standards desired in tenders.

Jotec - Production Area
Utmost care: JOTEC has extensive experience in the manufacturing of aortic prostheses
Jotec - Manual Work in Production
Manual work in demand: A look into the production

Although JOTEC has been on the market for many years now, the General Manager still perceives a start-up mentality in the company to this day: "We have grown here at the location from 1 to 680 employees. There are no large hierarchical levels with us. We maintain an open cooperation and a culture of addressing each other informally. And our employees live by the motto ‘Your strength is our strength.’"

Aortic Complete Solutions

Florian Tyrs also wants to achieve the double-digit growth rates of the past years in the future. With the Pacific region and South America, he also sees further sales territories that should promote this growth. "Since we know the challenges of the patients and clinics, we want to continue to bring innovative products to the market together with the doctors and clinics and establish ourselves as a provider of aortic complete solutions." Moreover, a very personal impulse drives the manager: "I get up every day and help save people's lives."