Stealth startup Onkos gets Series A, partnership for next-gen bone cancer surgery

Onkos Surgical's stated mission is to transform surgical oncology, but it hasn't divulged the details yet on how it hopes to do that. Founded this year, the startup has secured a Series A financing and partnered with MicroPort Orthopedics. The financial details were undisclosed in the company's announcement, but an SEC filing reveals that Onkos recently secured the first $6.1 million of a financing that's expected to total $15.3 million.

Onkos plans to develop surgical oncology products and services based on personalized medicine and 3-D printing capabilities. Through its MicroPort partnership, it's gaining access to a portfolio of segmental prostheses as well as getting a Chinese distribution partner.

Repiphysis Distal Femur--Courtesy of MicroPort

MicroPort has the Repiphysis expandable prosthesis technology for bone cancer patients; it is self-expanding and used as a bone replacement in limb salvage surgeries. In children, the technology offers a noninvasive means to subsequently expand the implant without repeated further surgeries, which is typically the norm.

The Repiphysis implant consists of a compressed spring inside a titanium tube, which is inside of a polymer tube. It is expanded after implant via a transmitter ring placed on the outside of a child's limb that generates an electromagnetic field.

This causes the titanium tube to heat, which unlocks it from the polymer tube. The spring then decompresses and lengthens the implant, so it can grow with the child. Each electromagnetic field activation is about 20 seconds and is followed by fluoroscopic imaging to monitor the lengthening, which can include multiple activation periods per expansion procedure.

Onkos' emphasis on personalized medicine and 3-D printing suggests that perhaps it's aiming for a drug-eluting implant that can made to order for each patient.

"Surgical oncology has been an underserved market for some time," said Onkos co-founder and CEO Patrick Treacy in a statement. "This complex disease state requires innovation and diverse solutions."

He added that surgical oncologists "serve a population where a large portion of patients are children and the broader population may require personalized solutions. Surgeons, patients and families deserve a focused company dedicated to this important cause."

Treacy was previously the CEO of infection-prevention player PDI and prior to that was a VP with orthopedics giant Stryker ($SYK). The startup was also co-founded by Antony Koblish and venture firm 1315 Capital, which led the Series A round. Koblish is an operating partner at 1315; he was previously a co-founder, president and CEO of surgical reconstruction company TelaBio and, prior to that, the president and CEO of orthobiologics company Orthovita.

"This investment is particularly compelling," said Adele Oliva, partner and co-founder of 1315 Capital. "With strong licensing and manufacturing partnerships, a talented and knowledgeable leadership team, and the significant need by patients and surgeons for innovation, we are excited to be a founding investor and partner."

- here is the Onkos announcement
- and here is the SEC filing

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