Kyphon Inc., acquired by Medtronic in 2007, was a minimally-invasive spine company that combined known technologies (balloons and X-rays) to develop a novel approach to compression fractures. Gynesonics is a women’s health company combining known technologies (thermal energy and ultrasound) to develop a novel treatment for uterine fibroids. The American Diabetes Association is the largest public charity dedicated to preventing and curing diabetes, and improving the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Each offers lessons in building science and businesses.

About the Presenter:

Karen Talmadge, Ph.D., is an entrepreneur in the biomedical industry.  She is currently the President of Nabu Healthcare Consulting; Chair of the Board of Gynesonics, Inc. (Redwood City, CA); Vice Chair of the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation Board (Alexandria, VA); and a member of the Board of Velocity Pharmaceutical Development (South San Francisco, CA).

In 1993, Dr. Talmadge co-founded and funded Kyphon Inc., a minimally invasive spine company acquired by Medtronic in 2007. Before the acquisition, she was the company’s start-up Chief Executive Officer (1993-1998), a member of its Board of Directors from inception, and Chief Science Officer from 2001. After the acquisition, she served as Vice President, Chief Science Officer and Kyphon Co-Founder, Medtronic Spine, Kyphon Products Division, retiring in 2010. She also held research and business positions (1983-1993) at the biotechnology company, Scios Inc., including Vice President, R&D for Meta Bio, its diabetes and obesity subsidiary.  She served on the American Diabetes Association Board (2004-2007), as well as the Executive Committee of the American Diabetes Association Board (2011-2014). She was Chair of the ADA Board in 2013.

Among her awards and recognitions, she was profiled in Stanford’s From the Innovator’s Workbench series (2006); received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Phoenix Medical Device Conference (2008); was elected a member of the Bakken Society, Medtronic’s highest scientific and technical honour (2009); received the Charles H. Best Medal from the American Diabetes Association (2010), and was named a Woman of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal (2013).

Dr. Talmadge holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Harvard University, and an A.B. in Biology from Bryn Mawr College. She conducted post-doctoral research at Cold Spring Harbor Labs and Harvard University. She attended Columbia Law School for a year, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. She is a co-inventor on 28 issued U.S. patents.


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