Basel, 5 July 2011: Straumann, a global leader in regenerative, restorative and replacement dentistry, announced today that it has acquired a minority stake of 30% in Dental Wings Inc. for an undisclosed sum.
Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Dental Wings has established itself as a leading developer in digital dentistry. It specializes in software for design and manufacturing in addition to developing and manufacturing 3D scanners. The company is privately owned and, as a result of the transaction, Straumann is represented on its Board of Directors. Straumann’s interest in investing in Dental Wings was signaled at the International Dental Show in Cologne in March, when the two companies announced a collaborative partnership with 3M ESPE to create an open standard software platform for use across a range of dental applications. 3M ESPE and Straumann also announced their intention to adopt Dental Wings’ DWOS platform, as the core operating software in their CADCAM solutions.
Beat Spalinger, President and CEO of Straumann, commented: “Our investment demonstrates Straumann’s commitment to advancing standardization across the industry. Dental Wings is one of best-positioned companies to spearhead this initiative, not least because their DWOS platform offers the functionality, simplicity and ease-of-use that customers want. At the same time, it provides the common platform that manufacturers need in order to open their systems and attract new business. Together with Dental Wings and 3M ESPE, we invite other interested parties to join us in shaping the future of this platform – either through investment or simply by using DWOS under license”.
The need for standardization in digital dentistry is acute as the number of different systems has risen considerably, adding complexity for dentists and dental laboratories. The resulting confusion has spawned wariness to invest, limiting growth opportunities. Standardized software could solve this situation and is expected to be a main driver of the digital market.
Naoum Araj, President of Dental Wings, noted: “Dental professionals should no longer be locked into specific scanning or manufacturing systems and we believe that a common platform will revolutionize the dental industry. There is no doubt that digitalization will drive dentistry in the future and our goal is to work with multiple partners to perfect an open platform that caters to the broadest range of needs. The announcement of our collaboration was the first step and it attracted strong interest. Since then we have been moving ahead to include other players in the initiative, who – like Straumann and 3M ESPE – share our vision and mindset”.
Digitalization: shaping the future
Digital technologies are becoming increasingly widespread in dentistry and cover a broad spectrum of applications – from general practice-management to treatment planning, imaging, guided surgery, digital impression-taking, right through to computer-aided prosthetic design and manufacture. However, the industry is fragmented and few systems offer broad connectivity.
The preferred software platform
The scope, quality, and functionality of the DWOS platform provide a solution of choice for communication, design and collaboration within dentistry. DWOS is already commercially available as an open system and offers dental laboratories the flexibility of designing prosthetics using data from multiple systems and sources, for instance in-lab model scans, chairside intra-oral scans, and impression scans received directly from dental practices. The restorations can then be manufactured in-house or outsourced.
Combined resources to drive development
As digitalization spreads, software requirements will increase but development funding is channeled by competing companies to individual systems, many of which serve the same purpose. The combined resources of several partners can be expected to achieve more than stand-alone providers. DWOS is thus well positioned to become the leading open software platform of choice.
About Dental Wings
Established in 2007, Dental Wings is a leading provider of dental CADCAM solutions and is specialized in the development of design and manufacturing software dedicated to different dental market segments. The company, which is privately owned, also develops, manufactures and sells 3D scanners to the dental industry. It is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
About 3M ESPE
3M ESPE is a pioneer in dentistry, bringing trusted brands to clinicians worldwide for half a century. The company manufactures and markets more than 2000 products and services designed to help dental professionals improve their patients’ oral health care. 3M ESPE is also a pioneer and leader in digital dentistry -- processing millions of successful digitally constructed restorations via the Lava Network for the last ten years.
Straumann entered the field of digital dentistry in 2007, though the acquisition of etkon AG. The Group moved into computer guided surgery and intra-oral scanning in 2009. It manufactures CADCAM scanners and design software – in addition to being the world leader in implant dentistry. In 2010, the company accelerated its push into digital dentistry through the in-house development and launch of the completely new Straumann CARES CADCAM system. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, the Straumann Group (SIX: STMN) is a global leader in implant and restorative dentistry and oral tissue regeneration. In collaboration with leading clinics, research institutes and universities, Straumann researches, develops and manufactures dental implants, instruments, prosthetics and tissue regeneration products for use in tooth replacement and restoration solutions or to prevent tooth loss. Straumann currently employs approximately 2360 people worldwide and its products and services are available in more than 70 countries through its broad network of distribution subsidiaries and partners.
Dental Wings, 3M and Straumann support the initiative to extend the Dicom standard to the prosthetics value chain. DICOM is a broadly used global Information-Technology standard for medical imaging. DICOM's Working Group 22 has started a project to create a standard between dental scanning and design, as well as between dental design and manufacturing. The three companies are active participants in the project, as well as other major players in the dental field.