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Dental Device Developer Setting Up HQ in OC

Mavrik Dental Systems Ltd., a developer of an automated teeth whitening device with a new chief executive, a $30 million funding deal announced in April, and an ambitious growth plan that looks to take advantage of changing dental practices amid COVID-19, plans to set up operations in North Orange County ahead of its first product launch this fall.

The upstart firm last month appointed Chief Executive Tom Olsen, former president and general manager for Zurich-based Nobel Biocare’s North American division, to lead commercial plans and global expansion.

The U.S. operations of Nobel, a dental implant maker with about 250 area workers, are based in Yorba Linda.

Mavrik was founded in 2012 and its local presence prior to this year was minimal, but the dental products company is now eyeing up to 200 new positions in the region over the next few years, as it builds up operations and starts sales of its teeth whitening product.

Though immediate plans for a physical office space in OC hit a snag amid stay-at-home orders, the company said it continues to scout real estate in northern OC for its headquarters.

It expects to have a local address finalized in the next few months, Olsen said.

Product Launch

In the meantime, Olsen said the 8-year-old firm expects to finish clinical work in the next three months for its teeth-whitening treatment, which it plans to launch later this year.

Mavrik uses a delivery system it calls io-wave to mix and activate a hydrated hydrogen peroxide gel that’s applied to a patient’s teeth. The system provides an automated treatment through a series of controlled pulses to the teeth, and requires just a single visit.

The io-wave system comes with single-use, disposable mouthpieces and offers a self-cleaning feature for the device itself, so that dentists can transition from one patient to the next in a matter of minutes, Olsen said.

COVID-19 Worries

The features of the product, in particular the single-visit treatment, as well as its cleanliness and automated process, could make the product attractive to dentists dealing with patients concerned about the potential spread of coronavirus in dental office environments, Olsen said.

“Anything we can do to automate the process and [remove] the need for staff to put their hands in patients’ mouths … I think it’ll be well-received,” he said.

The company’s optimism comes amid a devastating period for the dental industry, due to COVID-19 issues.

A bulk of the country’s dental practices have been closed during the pandemic, and area device makers and back-office management companies are reporting numerous job cuts, see page 12 for more.

There have been no reports to date of anyone contracting COVID-19 in a dental office.

Sonendo Connection

Co-founders and practicing dentists Daniel Sanders and Morris Strauss founded Mavrik in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2012.

Between the two co-founders, the company holds 15 patents and has another 47 patent applications pending.

Their OC connection: Strauss is a longtime friend of Dan Even, former president of Newport Beach’s Sybron Dental Specialties Inc., a maker of orthodontics and other dental products that sold to Danaher Corp. in 2006.

“I essentially worked for the same company for 33 years and retired,” said Even. “That long in the tooth, you get to know a lot of people.”

After he retired from Sybron in 2011, Even linked up with Laguna Hills’ Sonendo Inc., a device maker that uses a combination of a liquid solution and acoustic energies to clean a tooth’s root canal system.

Sonendo has been the fastest-growing midsized private company in OC for two years in a row, and raised $85 million in funding at the start of 2020.

Even serves as chairman of the board at Sonendo, and joined Mavrik as chairman late last year. He introduced the latter to New York-based Ally Bridge Group, which led the first significant round of financing for Mavrik earlier this year, a $30 million Series A.

Local Workforce

With fresh funds and an upcoming product launch, Mavrik expects to build a sizeable workforce in OC.

Though the coronavirus has caused the firm to rethink its size and scope, Olsen believes that if the company grows at the rate it anticipates, it will scale to 150 to 200 employees in the next few years.

Mavrik plans to scout OC’s talent pool for executive positions, in addition to significant teams for sales and marketing and customer service, Olsen said.

Pandemic issues notwithstanding, OC’s dental technology firms have seen rapid growth and strong investor interest in the last few years; Sonendo employed about 170 people last year, according to a Business Journal estimate, while Irvine-based invisible braces maker Swift Health Systems Inc. has about 100 employees now, following a $45 million investment last year.

Product Pipeline

In addition to the firm’s teeth-whitening product, Mavrik also expects to release a gum-protecting barrier that can be used during whitening treatments. It is also working on an injectable that protects sensitive gums and makes the treatment experience more pleasant for patients, Olsen said.

While teeth-whitening is an elective dental procedure, the company is researching and developing additional rinse products that would fall under an essential service category.

Products in development include a rinse that softens tartar and “reduces the time hygienists need to spend on routine teeth scaling,” according to Even.

The company’s delivery system “could be a huge opportunity in this new environment,” said Even, noting patients are likely to be fearful about contracting the coronavirus during interactions at dental offices, despite strict hygienic practices already in place.

“We’re very bullish on the technology and how we can maximize the efficiency of different rinses. We believe that in a few years Mavrik could enjoy the business that Sonendo does today.”

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