Santa Rosa medical technology startup Osseon Therapeutics is growing, with new funding and product launches outside the U.S.
The four-year-old firm makes a next-generation system for repairing spinal fractures.
"We expect to triple our sales by the end of the year," Osseon CEO John Stalcup said Thursday.
Osseon's technology targets a $1.6 billion to $3 billion global market for treatments of vertebral compression fractures. They are mostly caused by osteoporosis, which affects about 10 million people in the U.S.
The demand is growing as the population ages, Stalcup said. Most compression fractures happen to women over 50.
The Obama Administration's health care program also promises to drive sales by bringing millions of new patients into the health system, Stalcup said.
Osseon's repair system includes a steerable, curvable needle for injecting bone cement into fractured vertebrae.
The treatment stabilizes the fracture and relieves pain.
Osseon's system is an improvement because it uses a needle that delivers orthopedic cement to a damaged vertebra with a single insertion, Stalcup said. Conventional systems involve two insertions on opposite sides of the vertebra.
Osseon's treatment is faster, safer and less painful than other technologies, he said.
The startup's product also is less expensive, costing less than $2,400 for the bone cement and delivery systems. Others charge closer to $3,900 for their products, Stalcup said.
Osseon's competitors in the spinal market include Medtronic Inc., which sells the world's most popular treatment system for fixing vertebral fractures.
Since launching in the U.S. in early 2009, Osseon's technology has been used on more than 700 patients. The startup won clearance to sell its products in Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom and other markets late last year.
Osseon saw its first procedure performed outside the U.S. in Italy in February.
"We've more than doubled our market," Stalcup said.
The company expects sales to reach $10 million this year and attain positive cash flow, he said.
Osseon's workforce has grown from 33 in 2008 to 56 this month, and should reach 80 to 90 by the end of the year, he said.
Osseon is a spinoff of the University of Northern California, a Santa Rosa-based private institute that focuses on biomedical engineering. The university was founded in Petaluma in 1993 by Y. King Liu, an engineer who taught at the University of Michigan, Tulane University and University of Iowa.
The Santa Rosa university has an equity stake in the startup and provides some of its research.
The university, along with Osseon's founders and private investors, pumped $14 million into the startup, including $6 million in a recent round.
Osseon's products are assembled at its Santa Rosa headquarters, which once housed Arterial Vascular Engineering, the device maker acquired by Medtronic in 1999.
The startup plans on keeping production — and jobs — in Santa Rosa, Stalcup said. "We could go to China or Ireland and save a few bucks, but it's not really worth it," he said.
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