COVID-19 might have temporarily closed dentist offices, but that hasn’t stopped iDentical from raising a healthy amount of cash for its innovative alternative to traditional dental implants.
Fogarty Institute company-in-residence iDentical has developed drill-free, non-invasive dental implants that leverage the latest 3D technology, with the goal of making tooth replacement safer, faster, more affordable and less-invasive. Despite the overall rise in oral hygiene, tooth loss is still a significant issue for many: Approximately 178 million adults in the United States are missing at least one tooth, and a surprising 40 million are missing all their teeth.
Currently, dental implants are the top treatment choice because of their predictability and durability, yet fewer than 2% of those impacted by tooth loss are able to reap the benefits, due to cost, access, or medical conditions that prevent them from being a viable candidate for the surgery.
Emphasizing innovation and a stellar team to gain buy-in
iDentical’s solution has clearly resonated with investors, leading the company to realize $3.6 million in funding over the past few months. While co-founder Iris Wedeking acknowledges that this isn’t an easy environment in which to raise money, she attributes their success to the ease in translating the viability of this solution to angel investors and VCs. In fact, one new commitment came from an existing investor who was impressed with the progress that had been made to date.
“A lot of it is about sharing our story, our technology, and our vision for the company with clarity and confidence—offering a compelling message that resonates with investors,” says Iris. It’s easy to articulate the “pain points” of the wait and expense for dental work, not to mention the actual pain points that many associate with traditional dentistry.
And she adds that investors are also impressed by the team they have assembled. A seasoned entrepreneur and leader with an MBA from UC Berkeley, Iris has the business experience and insight to surround herself with people who have the skills and expertise needed to make iDentical successful. “Everyone always says it’s all about the team early on, and investors believe in ours. People trust the technology behind our idea and believe we have a team who can realize our plan.”
Dr. Dan Petersen, an oral surgeon who led the investment from Tech Coast Angels, instantly understood the benefit. “iDentical is poised to revolutionize the field of implant dentistry. Its novel design and no-drill technology is a much-needed advance in an industry that has not changed in over 50 years. I am very excited for the direction and future of this company.”
Another factor on iDentical’s side is the sheer size of the market, estimated at $15 billion in the U.S. alone, with extraordinary potential globally.
Fogarty team lends expertise
Currently the R&D team is conducting a series of mechanical bench tests required by the FDA to prove the solution is as effective as regular implants on the market today. Once the company receives IDE approval from the FDA, it intends to initiate clinical trials in 2022, with an end game to launch in the market by 2023.
In addition, the company has expanded and strengthened its IP portfolio by filing additional provisional patents that reflect the advances they’ve made. They are currently preparing to file a Track One patent application to expedite the process to get their first patent issued.
iDentical’s affiliation with Fogarty has been extremely important, Iris says. “Based on their diversity of experience and expertise, we see our Fogarty advisors as an extension of our team. We also appreciate having access to the other CEOs as a peer group we can lean on, especially during COVID.
“I am grateful to be part of this amazing group. Each member of the Fogarty team has provided a unique perspective of guidance and support, and the dedication of the staff is beyond expectations.”