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Recent Financings of Private Companies (11/2010)

Start-Up's monthly comprehensive review of emerging life science companies that have received venture funding during the month, including companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic and research instrumentation and reagent sectors.

Align: Selling Innovation to Late Adopters

Align Technology emerged from an unlikely source-two second-year Stanford business students with no previous start-up experience. These entrepreneurs were able to sign on major venture backers in a field which has never before attracted much interest from medical device investors: orthodontics. The founders' idea was that, by using advanced product design and manufacturing processes, the company could produce the Invisalign system of removable, clear plastic dental appliances that, for certain orthodontic patients, particularly adults-a large untapped market--could take the place of traditional metal braces. The challenge for the new company: to tap into a fragmented physician market not accustomed to new technology, moreover with a consumer-preferred device.

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