Trimph’s Bone Glue is a Dental First
Article by Sarah-Jane Tasker. Originally posted in The Australian.
Australian biotech Trimph is on the cusp of revolutionising painful dental surgeries with its bone “glue” — the only bone graft substitute in the world to be applied in liquid form.
Ali Fathi, who co-founded Trimph, said his bone “glue” was a first as other products looked at the hard structure of the bone, whereas his graft substitute focused on the soft structure to let the bone heal itself.
“The current products use bone granules, which stay in the region it is applied to for years,” Dr Fathi said. “Ours degrades with the same rate that the bone is healing.”
The technology Dr Fathi created is an injectable medical device that accelerates the natural regeneration of cartilage, bone and interface tissues. The company has selected dental surgery as its initial focus, but the technology has applications in treating osteoarthritis, bone defects and traumas.
TrimphDent is delivered as a liquid and uses body heat to form an elastic matrix that stabilises the clot and starts the healing process.
For dental surgery, the liquid is injected into the cavity left by the extracted tooth where it supports the blood clot formed at the site and promotes bone growth throughout the matrix structure. Trials on dental patients have shown the device halves recovery time.
The global dental bone graft substitutes market is projected to reach $US900 million by 2021.
Dr Fathi started the research behind the product at the end of 2012 and then secured patents in the US and Europe at the start of 2013. He finished his PhD, which focused on the TrimphDent technology, in 2015 and raised capital later that year.
“It has been a fast process,” Dr Fathi said. “From the pure research to first in-human trial, it has been four years, which is impressive for a Class III medical device, which is a high-risk medical device.”
He said that after seeing promising results from animal studies he knew he had to progress the idea from just a thesis project, so he pitched to tech incubator Cicada Innovations, which pushed him to start talks with investors to create a commercial entity.
“I needed to change my mind from a science engineer to scientist businessman … I had to identify the customer and know who was going to pay for the technology,” he said. “Most researchers are too focused on the thesis topic and don’t step back and digest the entire environment they are working on to determine if there will be a customer.”
Dr Fathi said another issue was universities did not teach entrepreneurial skills to students.
“Researchers struggle to communicate with potential investors,” he said.
Trimph was co-founded by its chief operating officer Terence Abrams and has secured more than $3.4m from private and public sources. Dr Fathi said that as the company got closer to commercialising its product, he would look to list Trimph on the Australian market.
“The business model is to prove its efficacy and safety in humans for dental applications before expanding to other areas,” Dr Fathi said.
He added that he was hoping to secure registration in Europe and Australia for dental application by end of next year.
Dr Fathi said given the ease with which the device could be applied, more implant procedures could be performed in private and rural centres, lessening the impact on major hospitals, reducing the cost of surgery and halving the recovery time.