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Geistlich’s collaborative history in North America

Fertile ideas

Three decades ago, Geistlich manufactured a flower fertilizer which relied on bone as its secret to success and this expertise was also applied for use in Geistlich glues and high quality food-grade gelatin.  With emerging strength in the company’s pharmaceutical division, a small group of researchers under the direction of Dr. Peter Geistlich began developing new and improved compounds for medications used in surgery and general medicine.

The roots of regeneration in the U.S.

In his search for new business ideas and collaborators, Dr. Geistlich came in contact with Dr. Myron Spector of Harvard University.  While working together, the two began a fortuitous discourse about the enormous potential for improved healing and regeneration of human tissue using natural biomaterials.

Focusing on the oral cavity

Almost three decades ago, an article in the Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery about a conference in Boston caught Dr. Geistlich’s attention.  A scientist named Dr. Philip Boyne had presented results of the reconstruction of a shattered jawbone with purified bovine bone.  A new fertile direction for the Geistlich company was born with the realization that a sterile, pure bone material could change the face of dentistry, and usher in a new era in regenerative surgery.

The need for ingenuity

Dr. Geistlich met Professor Boyne and discovered that there was a problem with the bone substitute that he had been using.  It consisted of the hard component of bovine bone but not all the soft tissue had been removed, triggering unwanted immunological reactions.  Drs. Boyne and Geistlich were convinced that a highly purified material, that was very similar to human bone, would be much more effective in regenerating bone.

Structured like nature

After years of previous experience working with animal bone, Dr. Geistlich had already “solved the chemistry” of purifying bone.  And so with his team, he soon developed the patented process for manufacturing Geistlich Bio-Oss®, which removes organic components from the bone material but leaves the natural microstructure and composition of the bone almost unchanged.

Success through persistence

Geistlich Bio-Oss® was implanted in patients for the first time in 1985.  Dr. Philip Boyne used this promising new material to reconstruct a jaw, while Swiss orthopedic surgeon Dr. Arnold Huggler conducted the first leg elongation with Geistlich Bio-Oss®.  The first clinical results were published in 1986.  Dr. Geistlich and his team of collaborators spent years gathering evidence and gaining professional acceptance, while patiently pursuing their vision for improved patient care.

An avalanche of scientific data

Faced with an initial hesitancy of many surgeons, Dr. Geistlich built a solid and methodical foundation of clinical data for Geistlich Bio-Oss® through exhaustive studies and clinical trials.  What followed throughout the 1990’s was a scientific avalanche of data, with growing acceptance of trial results and researcher’s desire to test the material for themselves.  Today, hundreds of publications confirm the excellent performance and osteoconductivity of Geistlich Bio-Oss®, further evidenced by the millions of successful treatment outcomes. 

Barriers become a treatment reality

In the mid-1980’s, the introduction of Guided Tissue Regeneration scientifically demonstrated the possibility of regenerating periodontal tissues and bone.  The company’s development of Geistlich Bio-Gide® resulted not only in the regeneration of the periodontal tissues and bone, but also improved ease of use, reduction of complications, and overall predictability.

Our anchor technologies

What started as two fertile ideas at Geistlich have become the cornerstones of the company’s regenerative offerings.  Just as Geistlich Bio-Oss® lays the foundation for successful regenerative results, Geistlich Bio-Gide® helps ensure this success by predictably guiding the healing process.  ­Together, our anchor technologies have become the clinician’s choice in achieving oral regeneration.  They are also catalysts for developing other innovative treatment solutions in the oral cavity and beyond.