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14th Anniversary Ribbon of Hope Gala Honorees:

Dr. Karen Talmadge, Ph.D
Co-Founder & CSO of Kyphon Inc.

Karen Talmadge, Ph.D., is a woman who won't take no for an answer. In the early 1990's, she knew that 700,000 patients a year suffer from spinal fractures that can cause chronic pain and loss of mobility. With her two co-founders, she pursued the development of surgical devices that would allow physicians to perform what became balloon kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure for repairing collapsed vertebrae with the potential for significantly improving patient quality of life.

This novel medical technology changed the practice of medicine, and most venture capitalists were looking for companies whose products would take over an existing market, not create a new market.  Undaunted by initial lack of interest from potential funders to research and develop new methods for spinal function restoration, Dr. Talmadge and her colleagues founded Kyphon Inc. It took three years to finance the company, during which time Dr. Talmadge and her business partners heard a lot of no's. But their persistence paid off and Kyphon received start-up capital in 1996.

Kyphon is dedicated to improving patient quality of life through revolutionizing the practice of medicine. With Dr. Talmadge as a driving force behind Kyphon's scientific innovations, the company developed and introduced the KyphX® Inflatable Bone Tamp in 1998. With it and Kyphon's other KyphX products, physicians are able to restore structural integrity to compressed vertebrae and relieve acute pain for countless cancer and osteoporosis patients worldwide, with over 95,000 fractures treated to date. New research at Kyphon is also leading to the development of innovative treatments for other types of fractures, including spinal fractures caused by traumatic events.

An emerging clinical field, minimally invasive spinal surgery provides a new opportunity to explore science and technology and Kyphon is at the forefront, developing new therapies and tools to enhance patients' quality of life. For myeloma patients suffering with spinal fractures, Kyphon's minimally invasive surgical solution elevates the fractured bone and can restore normal anatomy in the spine. The reduction in pain and re-alignment of the spine increases mobility and helps patients return to normal daily, work and social activities. These improvements are exactly what Dr. Talmadge and her peers sought to achieve when they founded Kyphon.

Dr. Talmadge is Executive Vice President, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Kyphon Inc. Prior to co-founding Kyphon, Dr. Talmadge served eight years in senior management at Scios Inc., a Sunnyvale, CA biopharmaceutical company. She earned her A.B. in Biology from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University.

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