INViCARE – An Innovation that Made Its Way from a University Laboratory to the Marketplace
Quebec universities are brimming with great ideas that can lead to the commercialization of a product or service. One excellent example of this is INViCARE. This young biotechnology company is revolutionizing dental care by developing innovative products that facilitate dental implant treatments.
University Research Leading to Innovation
Dr. Ashwaq Al-Hashedi is a dental surgeon who did doctoral studies at McGill University that focused on management of infections around dental implants. Alongside her thesis supervisor, Dr. Faleh Tamimi, she developed an effective 2D nanocrystalline hydrogel for cleaning implants. The team collaborated with Harvard University and the Université de Montréal for seven years on developing this gel. They patented their technology internationally, then started INViCARE to commercialize the product.
A Technology that Is Beneficial for Patients
Dr. Al-Hashedi and Dr. Tamimi are two dental specialists committed to transferring the knowledge gained from scientific research into practical applications for the patient. The two researchers quickly understood that their new technology could potentially be used in this way. The cleansing gel eliminates bacteria without damaging the implant while reducing the risk of infections that can be uncomfortable and painful. The product increases the chances of a successful surgical outcome and saves the healthcare system both time and money.
A Promising Discovery
This new biomaterial is promising and will have several applications. The first product, NeoPhylaxis®, will be available in 2022 as a dental implant cleansing gel. A second product, ImplantTreat®, is a disinfectant gel for treating more advanced infections; it should be available in a few years.
The new entrepreneurs have ambitious goals for their technology. It could form the basis for other innovative applications, such as a coating for implants that not only reduces infections but also speeds healing, or as a gel-based drug delivery system used to administer medication directly to a wound to promote healing. They are also studying a gel-based antimicrobial coating to disinfect surfaces to fight the spread of COVID-19 infection in the medical environment.
A Large Market to Capture
INViCARE’s products fit into a substantial market worth $7 billion in North America and $19 billion globally. In addition, this technology could eventually be applied to other areas, such as bone regeneration and drug delivery, which would open additional markets to this new company.
Award-Winning New Entrepreneur
Dr. Ashwaq Al-Hashedi began her entrepreneurial adventure with considerable enthusiasm. She has already received several prestigious awards, such as the 2017 Mitacs Outstanding Entrepreneur Award, Startup Canada’s 2019 Women Founders Fund, and the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation’s 2020 Excellence Award. She recently won RAISE & RISE, a virtual pitch competition launched by The Scotiabank Women Initiative and Disruption Ventures. (Click here for more information)