Surgical solutions from Silicon Valley

With a practice in San Jose, California – the heart of Silicon Valley – perhaps it’s no surprise that orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nathaniel Cohen has been an innovator in the field of medical technology. In fact, he is the embodiment of the entrepreneurial mindset that led to the creation of startup high-technology companies that are such a major force in the economy. He identified patient needs and set about developing the technology to meet that demand.   

Following his graduation from medical school, Dr. Cohen began his orthopedic training, including work in the orthopedic research laboratory at Columbia University. He began his practice 11 years ago, specializing in orthopedic surgery, sports medicine and shoulder surgery. In 2007, he founded his first startup company in partnership with a medical device engineer, focusing on technology that could improve rotator cuff repair. Working out of a garage in Silicon Valley, they developed a better way to anchor sutures in order to greatly improve patient outcomes. Their efforts were so successful that a large medical technology firm purchased the company and then widely marketed their invention.

Dr. Cohen has gone on to launch two more collaborative startups also focused on improving treatment for shoulder problems. His second company developed a better shoulder brace for day and nighttime use that was recently awarded a patent and is now being manufactured. The third company is focused on developing an even better suture anchor to speed patient outcomes.

Dr. Cohen’s approach – working with partners in the medical and medical technology fields, building on existing approaches to treatment, and forming small startups – is mirrored in countless medical technology companies nationwide, not just in Silicon Valley. Many start with a practicing doctor identifying a need for better treatment and developing the technology to meet that need. These small companies are catalysts not only for medical technology innovation, but also for the economy—creating well-paying jobs by turning good medical ideas into reality.