Guided Surgery Solutions will move on to next round of judging in the M2D2 contest. What is this company all about? Ed Ross describes Guided Surgery Solutions in a MedTech Boston Q&A:
1. Briefly describe your technology.
The Guided Surgery Solutions’ innovative ThinLayer® Drill Guide System is a patent-pending system which addresses important design and cost limitations of existing products used to place dental implants accurately and correctly. Developed by a practicing periodontist expert in guided surgery, the guide system, which integrates 3D CT data from each individual patient into a low-profile intraoral polymer guide and related components, facilitates placement of dental implants more accurately and securely. ThinLayer provides a more secure intraoperative fit and easier access and visibility for the clinician, particularly for use in posterior (rear-of-mouth) cases. As importantly, advantages of the guide design and related planning protocols make use simpler and more convenient than other systems, enabling not only dental specialists but also referring general dentists to adopt dental implants and this exacting technique in their practice. Please visit our website to learn more about our technology.
2. How does it add value to a clinical environment?
Literature shows that 3D image-based drill guides help surgeons more accurately drill into the jaw, decreasing operating time, sparing tissue, and lowering the risk of a negative surgical outcome. As dental implants have become the “gold standard” for tooth replacement treatment, accurate placement in such constrained spaces for such expensive implants is critical; technology advances and cost reductions now make guided surgery with proper planning and technique to be accessible, affordable and a reliable proven method to ensure best potential implant placement. The ThinLayer Drill Guide System introduces key improvements which can simplify yet expedite dental implant placement while maintaining or improving placement accuracy.
3. How is it disruptive?
Derived from results of a survey performed by Harvard Business School students to 12,000 dental professionals, the ThinLayer Drill Guide System and the Guided Surgery Solutions’ “open-source” business model approach is disruptive, both in terms of product design and intraoperative flexibility as well as ease of adoption and cost-effectiveness. ThinLayer guide features enable better access and visibility, particularly in difficult cases, while also affording intraoperative flexibility and clinical preference through its provision tube and tubeless designs. Unlike leading companies which require the clinician to purchase expensive software systems and drill sets – many times in excess of $10,000, Guided Surgery Solutions provides access to free, proven planning software and does not require clinicians to purchase drill sets because ThinLayer works with drills which most clinicians already own. In addition, the company offers planning services should the clinician prefer to have expert assistance and provides free continuing education to train clinicians on how to plan their own cases, therein saving the doctor – and perhaps the patient – hundreds of dollars. Finally, ThinLayer is priced 40-50% less than current leading systems, thereby making guided surgery far more affordable to interested clinicians and ultimately patients.
4. What is your target market?
In brief, our target market is dental professionals – specialists and general – and their supporting laboratory service partners. 2.8 million dental implants were placed in the U.S. in 2012, a number that is growing ~10% per year. Demand drivers include an active aging population, awareness of the advantages of dental implants, and new imaging technologies. Supply is being served by a growing set of surgeons: implants were traditionally placed by ~15,000 Dental Specialists such as Oral Surgeons or Periodontists, on referral from a General Dentist (“GD”); however, all future growth is coming from an increasing set of the 150,000 GDs placing implants. Dental laboratories, considered trusted suppliers and advisors to restorative dentists, are key potential partners and customers to provide an important service as well as education to their customers.
The addressable market for guided surgery is $1.3B in North America and $4.2B globally. Early customer adoption leads us to believe our guides will take share and expand the market. Success with GDs is meaningful, as the market leaders have thus far found success only with Specialists. Whereas Invisalign was an enabling technology for GDs to do orthodontics, our system enables GDs to confidently grow their implant placement business.
5. What are your anticipated funding needs?
Since our M2D2 application, we are nearly closed on $600k from private investors as well as having additional funding access as a recipient of the 2014 Accelerator Loan from the Mass Life Sciences Center, we are progressing in our ability to grow the company. The company has already acquired 50+ customers in our first year with “1.5 guys and a garage” with a growing monthly sales and customer base through website traffic, receiving over 350 unique visitors weekly and a Top 2 Google ranking, and trade show representation across various dental segments. We are focused on securing at least an additional $300,000 to scale rapidly and enable us to breakeven within 12-18 months via increased marketing activities and selective technology investments and partnerships.
Congratulations and good luck to Guided Surgery Solutions, and be sure to stay tuned to catch the other 14 finalists winners featured on MedTech Boston!M2D2 will be hosting the 2014 New Venture Competition Showcase Event on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Novel medical device technologies will be presented, followed by a poster and networking session. The grand prize winner will be announced at the follow up winner’s ceremony on April 8th at the offices of Nutter McClennen & Fish in Boston from 4 pm to 8 pm.
At MedTechBoston, we are sharing stories about cutting-edge medical innovation. As Managing Editor, I help coordinate our coverage of hackathons and company profiles. I also create content, update our social media and scout stories. I'm part of an ambitious group of people hoping to inspire a tech revolution in medical care.
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