BASEL, Switzerland, SAN JOSE, California--Straumann and Align Technology have announced they will discontinue their distribution agreements for the iTero intraoral scanner in Europe and North America with effect of 31 December 2012.
The exclusive distribution agreement in Europe was signed in 2009 between Straumann and Cadent, the developer of iTero, which was acquired by Align Technology in April 2011. The agreement awarding Straumann nonexclusive distribution rights in North America was signed shortly before the acquisition.
Beat Spalinger, president and CEO of Straumann, explained the rationale behind Straumann’s decision.
“We are convinced that intraoral scanning will have a major role in daily dental practice thanks to its superior accuracy, convenience, and patient comfort in comparison with conventional impression taking," he said.
"Furthermore, we are convinced that iTero is one of the best intraoral scanners available; however, we have decided to step back from distributing this hardware for three reasons:
First, our experience over the past three years has shown that a single hardware brand limits our addressable market. Moving ahead, our CARES CADCAM system will be accessible to various intraoral scanning systems, including the iTero scanner.
Second, our core business is in tooth replacement and restoration. We now have the digital work flow in place that enables us to produce high-precision prosthetics for dental implants starting from an intraoral scan. As a result, we no longer need to sell intraoral scanners directly and will focus our resources on driving our CARES business.
And lastly, we have come to the conclusion that the business case for distributing scanners is not economically viable for us in the present economic environment.”
Align and Straumann are committed to providing continued support and services to existing iTero customers. The two companies are working together on plans for a smooth transition and will communicate details to customers as soon as they are finalized.
In the meantime, Straumann will continue to offer first-level equipment support in Europe for at least the next 12 months, after which full responsibility for regional customer service will transfer to Align.
The discontinuation of the distribution agreements with Align will not affect the launch of new CARES services and products; however, it will have an impact on Straumann’s intraoral scanning staff. Further details in this respect will be communicated with the company’s third-quarter results on 30 October.
Intraoral scanner sales contribute approximately one percent of Straumann’s Group net revenues.