This project aims to commercialize an engineered peptide, ADP5, that rapidly catalyzes remineralization of the teeth. This peptide and its derivatives are envisioned to be the active ingredients in a broad-range of dental products that will drastically improve dental care. ADP5 was derived through biocombinatorial selection using peptide libraries and then tailored via bioinformatic design using naturally occurring biomineralization proteins in mineralized dental tissues. Existing products in dental care are either inadequate in restoring the mineral loss, the basis of major dental health problems, or only mask the side effects caused by the loss of mineral, such as hypersensitivity. Based on the I-Corps' team's previous interdisciplinary research, involving molecular biology, periodontics, bioinformatics, and materials science, designing a peptide that is capable of reversing and repairing demineralized tooth surfaces has now been proven possible.
In spite of widespread use of fluoride in public water supplies, dental caries and hypersensitive teeth remain a prevalent health care problem in both the aging population as well as in children exposed to high sugar diets. If successful, the widespread use of biomineralization peptides could prevent and treat early stage dental caries and, in addition, can be used on hypersensitive teeth to promote remineralization, thus repairing areas where the nerves are exposed via open dental tubules. The team's ultimate goal, through this I-Corps program, is to develop a commercialization plan for a viable start-up company for dental health products. Through the I-Cops curriculum, the team aims first to identify commercially-viable product lines in dental care, develop a network of commercial partners (in product development as well as licensing), and get trained on the commercialization concepts (e.g., identifying potential customers such as dental clinics and consumer product companies; establishing a network of interactions; and developing a business plan canvas for the formation of a startup company.
Award Title: I-Corps: Peptide-Enabled Dental Technologies Federal Award ID: 1217272 Report Submission Period: 03/01/2012-08/31/2012 Professor Mehmet Sarikaya (PI) Materials Science & Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; email: email@example.com This project aimed to develop the Commercialization Teamâ€™s business skills towards commercializing the products and procedures developed (through previously funded by NSF-DMR) towards dental therapies using an engineered peptide, ADP5, that rapidly catalyzes remineralization of the teeth. This peptide and its derivatives are envisioned to be the active ingredients in a broad-range of dental products that will drastically improve dental care. The Commercialization Team, consisting of an Entrepreneurial Lead ( Dr. Mustafa Gungormus, graduate student/Post-doc), Mentor (Dr. Terri Butler, from C$C, Center for Commercialization at University of Washington), and the PI (Mehmet Sarikaya, Materials Science and Engineering and Chemical Engineering), and their close colleagues (Dr. Hanson Fong, Research Scientist and Professor Candan Tamerler, Co-PI), have already discovered that the existing products in dental care are either inadequate in restoring the mineral loss, the basis of major dental health problems, or only mask the side effects caused by the loss of mineral, such as hypersensitivity. This has been the major conclusion from the Teamâ€™s interviews with more than 100 dental practitioners including dentists, clinicians, dental professors, and dental insurance agency representatives. Based on the I-Corpsâ€™ Teamâ€™s previous interdisciplinary research, involving molecular biology, periodontics, bioinformatics, and materials science, designing a peptide that is capable of reversing and repairing demineralized tooth surfaces has now been proven possible. If commercial applications are also accomplished, the implementations of the technology would be enormous, resulting in a game changing dental care products and procedures. During the I-Corps curriculum, that has taken place at Stanford University, our commercialization Team has been able to acquire the required knowledge and experience, and then exercise crucial activities that are essential for a successful start-up company. Most importantly, the Team had the chance to speak to many dental health care professionals, potential business partners, and dental insurance company representatives, and refined the crucial question of who the potential customers could be. In particular, by interviewing and working with the dental professionals, the team discovered that the utility of the tooth-surface remineralization enabled by the patented peptides could be far ranging from curing incipient caries, hypersensitivity, white spot lesions, to periodontal diseases. The Team also made an in-depth market analysis and identified the most suitable and most profitable applications and sizable markets. One of the "key new ideas" to the Team has been the realization of the potential partners in, e.g., product development, manufacturing and distribution. By doing a cost/profit analysis, the Team has once more critically evaluated the viability and sustainability of our potential products. Lastly the Team has created two business canvases to potential commercialization of the products and procedures through either Direct Sales or Licensing. The next steps towards commercialization are now geared towards acquiring further research funding and working with clinicians and insurers to continuing to develop diverse products and novel procedures including in vitro and animal studies as well as the development of product formulations and delivery/application protocols. These individual studies will be especially tailored for specific and effective dental care applications, leading to the development of more, andhighly specific, know-hows, IPs and, possibly, patents. This period will, therefore, be crucial for attracting investors and business partners that would buy into the potential implementations of the technology. Both of these activities will require continuing collaboration with the Universityâ€™s Center for Commercialization (C4C), Business School, and other business enterprises, advancing the Teamâ€™s business skills, and comprehensive planning for the start-up company.