Company's  treatment  for spinal fractures  gaining attention

[caption id="attachment_18134" align="alignleft" width="202" caption="Osseon Therapeutics' flexible needle allows it to pinpoint vertebral fractions and deliver bone cement."][/caption]

SANTA ROSA – Medical device startup Osseon Therapeutics has reached break-even in three short years, and its bone cement delivery system is in high demand among physicians and surgery centers, said a company spokesman.

After obtaining FDA approval and launching its Osseoflex system last year, Osseon has passed its 530th case and is one of only two companies approved for cavity creation (Osseoplasty) by Medicare. The other is Medtronic.

The system was patented by Y. King Liu, a 40-year academic researcher, clinical practitioner and biomedical engineering device developer and the founder of the University of Northern California in Santa Rosa.

Dr. Liu invented the delivery system in conjunction with longer-lasting bone cement for the performance of Kyphoplasty, a surgical procedure to repair vertebral bone.

Local entrepreneur John Stalcup, now Osseon CEO, convinced him that both products should be commercially marketed.

The U.S. market for minimally invasive treatment of spinal fractures is $650 million.

Kyphoplasty, or Osseoplasty as Osseon has renamed it, primarily is used to treat compression fractures of the vertebral spine, the result of osteoporosis and other degenerative bone diseases and osteotraumatic injuries, conditions which produce a lot of pain.

"Patients with compression fractures commonly report a pain level of 10, the very highest," said Osseon Director of Marketing Mike Bivens. "After Osseoplasty, which can be performed in less than 10 minutes with our device, they walk away pain free."

The difference between Osseon's delivery system and others lies in its flexible needle, which can be bent after insertion to target the fractured area and put the smallest necessary amount of cement in place.

A procedure using the competing system costs about $41,000. Osseon brings it down to $24,000, he said.

Such significant cost lowering for an oft-performed procedure has brought Osseon to the attention of the global medical community.

The company has been setting up distributorships across the U.S., and lately distributors have been contacting Osseon on their own, said Mr. Bivens.

"It's an exciting time, to see a product which alleviates terrible pain take off in the marketplace," said Mr. Bivens.

Osseon is the first of several startups incubated at the University of Northern California to bring a product to market.

Dr. Liu holds 13 patents. Osseon is currently developing a flexible drill for especially dense bone tissue.

For more information visit www.osseon.com.