Onkos Surgical: A New Jersey Success Story that Does Well by Doing Good
From left: Kathleen Coviello, NJEDA Vice President – Technology and Life Sciences; Dan Librot, Onkos Senior Director, Portfolio and Patient Solutions; Tim Sullivan, NJEDA Chief Executive Officer; Patrick Treacy, Onkos President and CEO; Kara Gropler, Onkos Senor Director, Marketing; Rose Rios, NJEDA Sector Lead, Life Sciences
Parsippany, N.J. (November 12, 2019) – Onkos Surgical is a true New Jersey success story. In just four years, the Parsippany-based startup has taken advantage of New Jersey’s highly-skilled talent pool and robust innovation ecosystem to pioneer new treatments for some of the most difficult to treat cancers. On a recent visit to Onkos’s headquarters, representatives from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) learned how the company is pioneering innovation to deliver patient-specific solutions, including 3D printed offerings. This work has made it possible for surgeons to complete procedures that used to require amputations or the installation of clunky implants with virtually no long-term effects.
Onkos Co-Founder and CEO Patrick Treacy started the company to improve the lives of patients fighting sarcoma, a rare cancer that develops in bone and connective soft tissue. When Treacy launched the company, there had been virtually no innovations in sarcoma treatment for close to two decades. This meant patients had few treatment options other than highly-invasive surgeries that replaced affected bone with one-size-fits-all implants that often severely compromised their mobility or even removed the bone without an adequate replacement.
Onkos was founded to fill the innovation void for these types of rare musculoskeletal cancers – they are less of a focus for larger device companies because of the complexity associated with successfully treating them. One of the pillar technologies at Onkos is a new, highly-advanced joint sparing solution for limb salvage surgery. This platform not only salvages the patient’s affected limb, it does so in a way that removes the tumor and affected anatomy and spares that patient’s joint from having to be replaced as well. Using CT scans from surgeons, Onkos creates three-dimensional models of a patient’s own anatomy, which they then use to design and 3D print patient-specific instrumentation and tools to help the surgeon treat that patient’s presenting anatomy.
These capabilities have the potential to dramatically change how patients with musculoskeletal cancers are treated.
“Onkos Surgical is a great example of the kind of businesses that are central to Governor Murphy’s vision for a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Innovative businesses that are born and grow in New Jersey facilitate equitable, sustainable economic growth by creating good jobs for residents, bringing investment capital into the state, and building New Jersey’s reputation as a leader in the global innovation economy. The NJEDA is proud to support Onkos’s work providing groundbreaking solutions for patients and doctors.”
Although Onkos now has more than 40 employees, when the company launched in October 2015 it was only seven people. During this early stage, Onkos attracted nearly $1 million in investments through New Jersey’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Program, which offers refundable tax credits against qualified investments for New Jersey businesses to technology businesses with a physical presence in New Jersey that conduct research, manufacturing, or technology commercialization in the state. Onkos also successfully solicited venture capital from high-profile funds such as 1315 Capital and Canaan Partners.
Looking ahead, Onkos plans to build on its success by addressing other challenges surgeons and patients face during sarcoma treatment. The company already provides the only commercially available virtual bone bank for patient-specific limb reconstruction, and it is currently developing a mobile application for surgeons that will improve workflow throughout treatment and reduce complexity during surgery. Given the complexity of surgeries required to treat sarcoma, infection is a common problem. Onkos is also collaborating with another New Jersey company to address infections that can result from sarcoma surgeries by developing an anti-microbial surface treatment for implants that kills bacteria immediately upon contact.
The company is also dedicated to increasing advocacy and awareness leading to a cure for sarcoma. Onkos Surgical partners with organizations such the Sarcoma Foundation of America and others to advocate for change that will impact the lives of cancer patients. Earlier this month, Onkos Surgical raised more than $10,000 through “Strike Out Sarcoma,” a fundraiser the company held during a Somerset Patriots minor league baseball game.
“At Onkos Surgical, we believe we do well by doing good, and locating our headquarters in New Jersey has allowed us to accomplish both of those goals,” said Onkos Surgical CEO Patrick Treacy. “The Garden State’s unparalleled talent pipeline, which includes the best K-12 education system in the country and many of the world’s leading research institutions, has been critical to our success, and the easy access to New York, Boston, and other centers of the medical innovation economy has also facilitated our growth. We are proud to call New Jersey home and look forward to taking advantage of all the state has to offer as we continue to grow in the years to come.”
About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.
About Onkos Surgical
Based in Parsippany, N.J., Onkos Surgical is a privately held surgical oncology company founded in 2015. We believe that individuals with cancer requiring surgery deserve solutions designed specifically for them. This principle is the driving force behind our Precision Orthopaedic Oncology initiatives. Built on a digital platform, Onkos solutions are rooted in unmatched expertise in patient imaging analysis, personalized surgical planning, and the latest advancements in 3D printing. At Onkos, we are passionate about reducing complexity for our customers and addressing the clinical challenges associated with tumor surgery. www.onkossurgical.com
To learn more about EDA resources for businesses call EDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit https://www.njeda.gov and follow @NewJerseyEDA on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.