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Fostering Innovation in the Oral Health Sector

Sponsor Spotlight

Guest post:

Bruce Lieberthal, Chief Innovation Officer at Henry Schein; &
Carline M. Durocher, GC and Vice President of Technology Development at Forsyth

Forsyth is hosting its second annual Forsyth dentech 2022 conference, which convenes stakeholders in the oral health innovation ecosystem.  Last year, 18 start-ups were selected from a competitive global applicant pool to present at the conference (which is similar to a pitch contest). This year, we are thrilled to have selected 30 companies to present at Forsyth dentech 2022’s presentation competition.

At this year’s event, Dr. Bruce Lieberthal, who leads innovations for Henry Schein, will moderate an engaging panel – The Start-Up Grind – focused on what it takes to go from ideation to running a company.  Bruce will lead the panel discussion with CEOs of some of the industry’s leading companies, including Calcivis, Incisive Technologies, Neocis, RevBio and VideaHealth. These leaders of enterprise will share their experiences and wisdom on the topic, illuminating what it is truly like to have a new, unique idea and what it takes to go from vision to successful business.  

We all are too familiar with the stats around the rate at which biotech and biomedical start-ups fail and the oral health innovation space is no different. Being an entrepreneur and chasing one’s dream is an adrenaline rush like no other.  Those of us who’ve done it will tell you that it is less a matter of work and much more about need – one is driven, hungry and feels he or she must pursue making the vision a reality.  One of the early lessons entrepreneurs learn is that the grind is real – sleep, fun and normal life tend to take a backseat to almost everything else in the innovator’s life. As the business goes from a dream and solo initiative, the entrepreneur also begins to learn about the challenges of running into his or her own limitations as critical work in the construction of a business – sales, marketing, finance, manufacturing, distribution, raising capital, protecting IP, etc. – becomes every bit as important as the invention. 

Bruce’s own experience as an entrepreneur is a case in point. In his own words, Bruce noted that:

“In the mid-1980’s, during the early and heady days of desktop computing and having just graduated dental school and while I was also building my practice, I caught the “bug”, infected with the notion that I could build practice management software.  I had zero software engineering experience and then, unlike now, there were very few resources available in this nascent industry.  But, the love of learning how to do this and build a truly innovative solution first for my own practice and then for others replaced nearly everything else in my life and the business grew and was acquired.”

In the case of Bruce, his business had a successful exit. Most entrepreneurs will not have an opportunity to experience this sense of gratification.  Having spun-out a number of start-up companies, the Forsyth Technology Development team understands these challenges far too well. Forsyth’s ecosystem creates a platform for start-ups to amplify their visibility among key stakeholders like investors, clinical practitioners and university and institution partners. Forsyth also provides start-ups access to equipment, lab space and core services through the Forsyth Entrepreneurial Science Center (FESC), which is an incubator based in Cambridge’s Kendall Square.

The Start-Up Grind Panel will explore the wins and challenges that CEOs of start-up must navigate in order to achieve success. In his line of work, Bruce meets with, and assists, brilliant entrepreneurs, some of whom you’ll meet this week at Forsyth dentech 2022 and on the Startup Grind panel. 

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