Align Technology Inc, a Californian 3D scanner and dental clear aligner manufacturer, has announced it will acquire Exocad GmbH, a German CAD/CAM software company. With Exocad’s expertise, Align Technology aims to strengthen its digital dentistry platform and make the digital workflow easier for doctors.
Align will pay approximately €376 million in cash. The majority of Exocad is owned by a global investment firm, the Carlyle Group, which invested in the CAD/CAM software company in 2016, through a €657 million fund. Carlyle Group states that Exocad doubled revenue and EBITDA since 2016.
Dr. Thorsten Dippel, Managing Director on the Carlyle Europe Technology Partners advisory team, commented on the acquisition, “We have had a fantastic partnership with Exocad and in particular with its founders, Till Steinbrecher and Maik Gerth. We are proud of what the company has achieved since we invested, not only in terms of its financial growth but, more importantly, as an innovative frontrunner in the area of digital dentistry. With Align, we believe we have found the ideal partner to strengthen Exocad’s position further, and we wish the Exocad team every success for the future.“
Joe Hogan, President and CEO of Align Technology, added, “Exocad allows us to broaden and deepen Align’s digital platform by addressing restorative needs in our end-to-end digital platform that facilitate ortho-restorative and comprehensive dentistry and accelerates the adoption of Invisalign treatment among the more than 300 million potential patients worldwide.”
“The digital transformation of dentistry”
The two companies have been collaborating since 2017, integrating Align’s iTero intraoral scanners and Exocad’s Chairside CAD software. Align Technology described the acquisition as a “natural next step.”
Joe Hogan, explained, “Dentistry today is evolving digitally, with technology advances and consumer awareness driving new opportunities in ortho-restorative and comprehensive treatment. Align is in a unique position to lead the digital transformation of dentistry by reimagining comprehensive treatment planning and by reinventing the way orthodontists and GPs practice with our digital platform for transforming smiles.”
Via the acquisition, Exocad will bring its customer base of partners and resellers from over 150 countries. With almost 200 partners and more than 35,000 licenses, the German company also aims to support Align’s digital platform reach.
Tillmann Steinbrecher, CEO and co-founder of Exocad, stated, “Together, we will further strengthen Exocad’s position as a key technology provider for the dental CAD/CAM industry and drive continuous innovation with the open and integrated approach that is the foundation of our company.”
After the transaction closes, the co-founders of Exocad and their team are expecting to remain in their positions. The operation will continue the same way, except the co-founders will report to John Morici, senior vice president and CFO of Align Technology.
Morici commented, “The acquisition of Exocad adds a talented and passionate team as well as a highly innovative, industry-leading product suite to our portfolio, providing an excellent complement to our current workflow solutions. We will continue to invest in and build on Exocad’s leadership in the dental CAD/CAM market and look to them to make significant contributions to Align’s overall strategy.”
AM in the dental sector
Last year, Align Technology produced over half a million unique 3D printed parts per day, according to Joseph Hogan, CEO of Align Technology. Hogan explained, “We have a team of 3000 dental cad technicians who aid in the creation of our aligners. As a result, we can tackle 90% of the 12 million orthodontic cases that arise every year.”
This year, SmileDirectClub, a Nashville-based dental equipment manufacturer, has become a direct competitor to Align Technologies, ending its 3-year-long partnership with the firm. After the company’s supply agreement with Align expired in 2019, SmileDirectClub partnered with Walmart.
Alex Fenkell, Co-founder of SmileDirectClub, commented on this decision, “We have seen increasing demand from the dentists and orthodontists in our network who wish to provide SmileDirectClub clear aligners to their in-office patients, and with our agreement with Align Technology now expired, we are no longer obligated to stay in the direct-to-consumer channel.”
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Featured image shows Invisalign treatment with mandibular advancement. Image via Align Technologies.