Startup Story: Catalyst OrthoScience

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SHOULDER TO SHOULDER: Chairman and CEO Brian K. Hutchison (left), and Catalyst OrthoScience founder Dr. Steven Goldberg. PHOTO Erik Kellar

SHOULDER TO SHOULDER: Chairman and CEO Brian K. Hutchison (left), and Catalyst OrthoScience founder Dr. Steven Goldberg. [PHOTO: Erik Kellar]

FOUNDER: Dr. Steven Goldberg




The Business: A Naples-based medical device company that developed the Catalyst CSR Total Shoulder System, a higher-precision, less-invasive solution for shoulder replacement than the traditional shoulder implant options.


The Background: Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Goldberg boasts an impressive résumé. A graduate of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, he completed a fellowship in shoulder surgery and sports medicine at Columbia University, a program founded by Dr. Charles Neer (known as the “father of modern shoulder surgery”) and considered the country’s most prestigious shoulder fellowship.

But when he began practicing in Naples, it wasn’t necessarily smooth sailing. “I thought the surgeries themselves were technically challenging to perform, despite six years of orthopedic surgical training,” says Goldberg, currently chief of the division of orthopedic surgery at Physicians Regional Healthcare System in Naples. “And I thought my patient outcomes, while generally good, left a lot of room for improvement.”


The Idea: Goldberg began prototyping a new kind of implant shaped more like the natural shoulder that would be used in conjunction with a new, less-invasive technique for shoulder replacement surgery. “I pitched it to about 10 different major companies and was turned down by all of them, because they thought the idea was too outside-the-box,” he says. Convinced that he was on to something, he formed his own company and assembled a team of consultants, including other orthopedic surgeons, engineers and folks knowledgeable about regulatory affairs to provide insight and assessment along the way.


The Money: Still working as an orthopedic surgeon while developing his shoulder system, Goldberg bootstrapped his new company at first, then began getting some funding from family and friends. In 2016, the Tamiami Angel Fund II (please read related story on p. 90) invested nearly $1 million in Catalyst OrthoScience. To help take the company to the next level, it recently embarked on a Series C-1 financing round that raised $12.7 million, led by River Cities Capital Funds. That funding will help the company increase inventory, expand distribution and develop new products.


The Results: The first procedures using the Catalyst CSR Total Shoulder System were done in 2016. Today, 100 surgeons in 25 states have used the system in more than 1,000 procedures. “It’s a simplified, predictable way of doing shoulder surgery and, as a result, we’ve seen patients have a rapid recovery and early return to mobility,” says Goldberg.


The Talk: Orthopedic surgeons aren’t keeping their thoughts about the Catalyst CSR Total Shoulder System to themselves. “In orthopedics, word of mouth is the absolute best method to grow any sort of product,” says Brian K. Hutchison, Catalyst’s chairman and CEO. “Surgeons talk to each other about their experience with the product, and they really get excited. They can’t believe the results they get and how fast the patients come back feeling energized and ready to go.”


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