Profits in animal dentistry entice 2 firms into alliance Nutramax will market USBiomaterials products

April 25, 1996|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Nutramax Laboratories Inc., which makes dietary supplements for people and animals, and USBiomaterials, a biotechnology company that makes implantable medical products, have formed an alliance to get a slice of the emerging field of veterinary dentistry.

The agreement between the two White Marsh companies gives Nutramax exclusive rights to market in the United States and Canada two USBiomaterials products approved for use in humans by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA approvals allow the products to be used in veterinary medicine.

The two products are Perio-glass, a product used to fill bone defects that result from periodontal disease, and Ermi, a product that prevents the jawbone from sagging after tooth extraction.

Both products are made by USBiomaterials using Bioglass, a material that clinical tests showed enhances bone fusion. The company's products are marketed for human dentistry by Block Drug Co. of Jersey City, N.J.

"This new alliance opens up the field of veterinary medicine to us," said James L. Meyers, president and chief executive officer for privately held USBiomaterials.

Dr. Robert W. Henderson, a pharmacist and president of privately held Nutramax, said the alliance would help his company broaden its line of products aimed at improving the health of animals.

Dr. Robert Wishner, a veterinarian and manager of product development for Nutramax, said sales of the two USBiomaterials products would likely yield $1 million to $2 million annually in revenues initially in the Canadian and the U.S. markets.

That would represent a 10 percent to 20 percent gain in revenues for the company, which had sales last year of $10 million.

"The field of veterinary dentistry is really so new, we're not sure which directions it might go," he said. "We do know it's getting more popular as pets live longer and become like surrogate children to some people."

Nutramax, which was formed in 1988, plans to market the Bioglass products for use by veterinarians offering dentistry services to treat problems that occur as the result of periodontal disease, an inflammation of the gums that can lead to tooth loss and other medical problems. Virtually all dogs and cats -- there are about 120 million in the United States -- are afflicted with the condition, chiefly because of their soft diets.

The company also plans to market the products for use in surgery to repair bone injuries, such as those caused by automobile accidents.

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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