90+ reasons to smile

What happens when you bring 90+ expert dentistry and maxillofacial surgeon’s together in a room to unpack the burgeoning world of collagen membrane technology and digital dentistry? There are plenty of reasons to smile, that’s what.

On Tuesday 7 August 2018, Australian regenerative medicine company Orthocell (ASX:OCC) sponsored and participated in an industry forum, Advances in Osseointegration & Implantology Symposium, in partnership with The University of Western Australia (UWA) and the Oral Health Centre of Western Australia. It was the first in a series of CelGro® collagen membrane education and training events to be led by the Orthocell team.  The next event will be held in Milan from 28 September 2018 and will be undertaken in collaboration with Dr Massimo Simion, a widely published and respected expert in oral medicine and member of Orthocell’s MSAB and Bimar Ortho, Orthocell’s exclusive distributor for Italy.

 Dr Brent Allan, Dr Giuseppe Luongo & Professor Ming Hao Zheng

Dr Brent Allan, Dr Giuseppe Luongo & Professor Ming Hao Zheng

For investors and supporters of Orthocell, it’s a sure sign that the Company’s commercialisation strategy is in healthy shape. Bringing together a brains trust of globally respected leaders in dentistry, to unpack and examine the potential of products such as CelGro®, is central to the team’s key opinion leader (KOL) led approach to developing its products and reaching more patients around the world.

According to Orthocell Managing Director, Paul Anderson, there was no shortage of interest and engagement in the room on Tuesday. “Oral surgeons are always on the lookout for innovative devices that improve patient outcomes and Orthocell is well positioned, with its best in class collagen scaffold, CelGro®, to gain significant market traction across key target markets,” he said. “We were delighted by the significant level of interest at the symposium with more than 90 oral surgeons and dentists attending and actively participating in the discussion.”

It was quite a line-up of experts, too.

Key presenters included Orthocell’s KOLs and members of the Company’s Medical Scientific Advisory Board (MSAB) including Dr Giuseppe Luongo, a widely published and respected maxillofacial surgeon; Dr Brent Allan, a leading West Australian maxillofacial surgeon and chief investigator for Orthocell’s guided bone regeneration clinical trial; and Professor Ming Hao Zheng, from the University of Western Australia and Orthocell’s Chief Scientific Officer. 

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So why the smiles?

The Symposium featured presentations highlighting innovations in digital dentistry solutions and collagen membrane technology for dental implant procedures. The speakers demonstrated how advances in technology are changing the way oral surgeons plan and execute dental implants enabling a personalised approach to treatment plans. And let’s face it, that’s excellent news for patients. Just ask 64-year-old Lorraine Bloodworth, who personally benefitted from CelGro® during a complex procedure for two dental implants. Lorraine was thankfully in the right hands at the right time for the procedure – her prosthodontist was participating in a trial for Orthocell’s CelGro®. “They asked if I would be willing to trial CelGro® and I was prepared to do it,” she said, with a matter-of-fact explanation that she proudly supports medical research and innovation, due to her time working in the medical field. “I had to have the teeth taken out first. Then they prepared the dental implant site using a bone graft and the CelGro collagen membrane, lifting the sinuses. Then there were scans. Then once the bone grafts had set, I had to have the dental implants sorted out. It was all day procedures.” After three months, the tissue was completely rebuilt, with the dental implants securely in place. A successful outcome that is due, in part, to the regenerative properties of CelGro®, which allows for better tissue growth and bone repair, and improved integration with existing tissue.

 Dr Dr Giuseppe Luongo

Dr Dr Giuseppe Luongo

Dr Giuseppe Luongo, a widely published and respected maxillofacial surgeon, who was in attendance on Tuesday, said “CelGro® has key advantages over other products and supports high quality tissue repair.  I am very excited to work collaboratively with the MSAB and Orthocell to establish CelGro® as a best in class scaffold for bone and soft tissue repair,” said Dr Luongo.

Patient by patient, the impact of CelGro collagen membrane and digital dentistry  technology will continue to be realised around the world – and there’s no denying the appetite from leading experts to support continued innovation in this space. It’s a team effort and THAT is reason to smile.

 

 

To learn more about the Orthocell team and their growing suite of cell therapy products, visit orthocell.com.au

 

Engineering the future, one intern at a time

 Paul Anderson (CEO, Orthocell) with Margeux Steltz

Paul Anderson (CEO, Orthocell) with Margeux Steltz

What university student would give up their hard-earned summer, leave their friends to vacation on the beach to move to the opposite hemisphere for the coldest weeks of winter to work as an intern? Penn State University biomedical engineering undergraduate student, Margeux Steltz would. And very happily.

Margeux is the fourth US college student to accept an internship with Orthocell in Perth. As winter arrived so did Margeux. On her first visit to Australia, and in fact having never been this far from home, Margeux will spend a month in Australia at Orthocell.

‘It’s been an amazing experience so far,’ said Margeux. ‘It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in a lab at school.  I certainly now have a far better understanding of clinical research and quality management systems, she reflected. ‘Cell handling was neat, experience with a digital PCR, cutting bioderived collagen medical devices and then the complexities around shipping – it’s all been really great.’

Internships, particularly international experiences like these, add tremendous value for students in offering them insight into emerging technologies and preparing them for what the jobs of the future may look like.

‘One of the reasons US interns are coming to Australia, is to access high quality internships with biotech companies driving the translation of medical research, said Paul Andersen, CEO Orthocell.  ‘We’re really delighted to have super-talented undergraduates from Australia or the US at Orthocell, investing in their future and expanding our talent search on a global scale.’

‘To make the most out of an internship opportunity you really need to approach an internship not really expecting anything’ Margeux advised. ‘It’s important to stay open minded to the experience. Be willing to assist across multiple functions of the business, to help in any way you can’.

During her internship, Marguex has been able to experience the spectrum of the Orthocell business from handling raw materials through to understanding quality management systems and associated compliance standards and finally transport logistics.

‘I’ve been really surprised by how many checks and balances there are in the Orthocell product development and manufacturing process’, said Marguex.  The company runs in such a diligent way with individuals accepting such a high degree of responsibility for the way in which the product is made and handled through to the clinic.’

‘I’ve probably enjoyed being involved in the manufacturing process the most – seeing how the scaffolding is made,’ said Margeux when asked about the elements of the internship that she has valued the most. ‘Learning from industry experts and the opportunity to put theory into practice.  The manufacturing process is fascinating.  I’m going to assist with the scaffold de-fatting process today.’

Reflecting upon her expectations and addressing the challenge, Margeux offered that coming into Orthocell was kind of intimidating at first. ‘But only because I’m going to be able to do something that not many others get to see and because I really wanted to be able to make the most of it.’

Her knowledge of bioscaffolds has advanced dramatically from theory to practice since being at Orthocell. ‘I guess I had a skewed understanding of bioscaffolds, but now with direct experience handling the materials, with a very practical view of the capabilities of the technology, I’ll go back to school with skills and experience that I know I can apply directly to my studies.’

One of the unexpected benefits of internships according to Marguex is that ‘Internships give an understanding of what it means to be part of and contribute to a high performing team. It sounds cliché but we have no experience that can prepare students for what it’s like being a part of a fast moving biomedical company like this.  ‘These experiences really shape a student’s view to know what to expect from an industry-based R&D role.’

‘Biomed right now is evolving so rapidly, it seems like anything is possible’, said Margeux.  ‘There is virtually no limit on what can be done to engineer solutions to some of medicines most complex and persistent problems.  I’m really excited for the future of bioengineering.  I certainly think I’m in the right place at the right time.’