25 Apr 2023
Dental laser developer hopes new credit facility and equity finance will propel it to profitability.
Convergent Dental, which has pioneered the development of a modified carbon dioxide laser for a wide range of applications in dentistry, says it has secured an additional $50 million.
The Waltham, Massachusetts, firm has raised the money in a combination of lending and equity, largely thanks to a new $40 million credit facility with Trinity Capital.
Convergent has drawn down an initial $20 million from that facility, raised $5 million in new equity funding, and converted another $5 million of existing investor loan notes into equity.
CEO Robert Gershon said that the latest infusion of capital would accelerate the company’s plan to drive broad-based adoption of its “Solea” laser system, and is “expected to fully finance the company to profitable growth and beyond”.
The fundraising comes nearly two years after Convergent completed its $40 million series C round, which was led by the Michigan-based healthcare venture fund Arboretum Ventures. Arboretum added to its equity stake in the newly announced financing.
9.3 µm: from fillings to hairy tongues
Convergent’s technology is based around a carbon dioxide source that emits at 9.3 µm, shorter than the conventional 10.6 µm wavelength that has been used mostly in industrial laser applications.
Back in 2014, Convergent claimed that its technology eliminated the need for drills and needles in a “vast majority” of dental procedures, and that the specific 9.3 µm wavelength was able to vaporize tooth enamel without a patient experiencing any pain.
It worked with Coherent on those initial systems, with the California-headquartered laser firm explaining that the unusual output wavelength is produced by using an isotope of oxygen (O18) in the lasing gas medium.
That adaptation enables the laser to match an infrared absorption peak of hydroxyapatite - the main mineral found in dental enamel and dentin.
Convergent now describes Solea as an “all-tissue” carbon dioxide dental laser solution that uniquely enables dentists to perform “virtually anesthesia-free, blood-free, and pain-free procedures”.
Lauren Cosentino, the managing director for life sciences at Trinity, commented: “Solea brings exciting innovation to dentistry, allowing doctors to provide pain-free, patient centric care, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”
Gershon, who was previously CEO at France-based optical biopsy firm Mauna Kea Technology, was appointed to the lead executive role in summer 2022, following the retirement of Convergent’s founder Mike Cataldo.
Cataldo said that he founded the company in a bid to eliminate the fear of the dentist, by enabling reliably drill-free, needle-free fillings.
According to Convergent the Solea system can now be used for a much wider range of dental procedures than that. The firm’s web site describes its use in implant restoration, a procedure to combat snoring, gingivectomies (the removal of gum tissue), and even one case of “hairy tongue” that appeared to have developed in a patient following Covid-19 infection.