Halifax-based PhotoDynamic, Inc. has closed a $2.3 million round of financing, which will help to finance the launch of its teeth-cleaning product in the autumn of this year.
The company’s CEO Martin Greenwood told Entrevestor a year ago that the company was aiming to raise at least $1.35 million, and it has handily exceeded that figure. More important, one of the lead investors is the American Association of Orthodontists, or AAO, a group that will be key to bringing the product to market. The funders also include Charlottetown-based Natural Products Canada and Island Capital Partners.
PhotoDynamic is developing a device that uses natural extracts from a wild Nova Scotia plant to erase heavy plaque buildup on teeth. Such buildups are an unwanted side-effect of wearing braces, so PhotoDynamic plans to market the product by selling it through orthodontists.
“While applicable to anyone’s hygiene regimen, our technology solves a particular problem for orthodontists and their patients who face real challenges maintaining good oral hygiene during treatment,” said Greenwood in a statement. “Receiving the AAO investment provides a great opportunity to further connect with the orthodontic community and further validate the potential patient impact of our technology.”
PhotoDynamic’s product— called PD Foam and PD Tray — eradicates plaque through a combination of light and an extract from a plant that grows wild in Nova Scotia. Because the plant is known to be safe for human consumption, the product has a relatively simple regulatory path.
Pioneered by Acadia University professor Sherri McFarland, PhotoDynamic has developed foam made from the plant extract, which the user places in the top and bottom trays of a special mouthpiece. It resembles a mouth guard a hockey player would wear but it contains LED lights. Users turn on the lights, place the device in their mouths for one minute, and the plaque is gone.
In 2018, PhotoDynamic subjected its product to clinical trials with 20 patients at the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Those trials showed that, in just two weeks, the PhotoDynamic device made noticeable improvements in patients’ conditions.
Now the company is working again with the Forsyth Institute, conducting a three-month trial with 40 patients who wear braces in preparation for the full launch. PhotoDynamics now employs five people, and Greenwood expects to hire more staff this year.
The latest fundraising round – the company’s first since a $250,000 angel round in 2016 – taps into a fund the AAO established last May to advance technology that benefits orthodontics.
“The AAO thoroughly vetted Photodynamic,” said Mindi Tomey Brothers, AAO’s Vice-President for Growth and Transformation. “We were impressed with the clinical results and the potential to improve orthodontic patient care. We’re delighted to have Martin and the PhotoDynamic team as our first investment.”
Island Capital Partners is a Prince Edward Island based early stage venture fund supporting local innovation while Natural Products Canada is a national organization that supports companies developing products from natural sources.
“PhotoDynamic’s ground-breaking product is a perfect example of the power of natural compounds to create truly disruptive market opportunities,” said Shelley King, CEO of Natural Products Canada.
The funding will result in three additions to the PhotoDynamic board: Stephen Ball, Regional Director (Atlantic) of Natural Products Canada; Ron Keefe, ICP partner and former CEO of Charlottetown-based Biovectra; and Michael Sherman, an orthodontist and trustee with the AAO.
Said Greenwood: “We’ve gathered a group of strategic investors that can assist with our supply and sourcing on Prince Edward Island, elevate our expertise in developing leading edge natural products, and strengthen connections with our core orthodontic market.”