SweetBio using Manuka honey for dental membrane, better healing

The TENN 3(EDITOR’S NOTE: The eight teams that comprise the fourth cohort in Launch Tennessee’s “The TENN” master accelerator program bring the curtain down on the experience at a pitch finale set for tomorrow night at Well Placed Smile, 907 Gleaves Street in Nashville. To register, click here. Ahead of that event, we are running short profiles on each of the teams.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

The sole West Tennessee team in this year’s “The TENN” master accelerator has a unique name – SweetBio – and an intriguing tagline – “We are revolutionizing healing, starting in oral surgery.” Even more interesting is its secret sauce – Manuka honey.

Co-founded by three individuals in 2015 after about three years of in vitro development, SweetBio has designed a patent pending dental membrane that draws on the legendary healing powers of Manuka honey but in an application for dental surgeons.

For thousands of years, the medicinal properties of honey in general have been widely proclaimed. Yet, Manuka honey has been characterized as one of the most unique and beneficial forms of honey in the world. It is widely used to treat burns and ulcers.

“The SweetBio team, a graduate of the “ZeroTo510” accelerator in Memphis, has found a new way to use the honey found only in New Zealand.

“About 200 million people will suffer from tooth loss in the next 10 years,” Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Kayla Graff told attendees at “The TENN Road Show” stops in Knoxville. Without proper treatment, bacteria can grow creating additional health problems for the individual.

The process of replacing the lost tooth involves the use of a membrane to act as a barrier to protect bone regrowth and encourage gum regeneration.

“Ours is a resorbable membrane,” she explained, meaning that it degrades as the gums heal and does not have to be removed. “We validated the need through conversations with 150 (oral) surgeons and 11 dental schools in 15 states and five countries.”

SweetBio has completed a pre-clinical study and has been working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the past two years on the path to securing clearance as a 510(K) Class II medical device.

“The last 24 months have been incredible,” Graff says. The start-up has raised $1.3 million through two Memphis-based entities – MB Venture Partners and Innova – and The JumpFund.

“We need another million to get to market,” Graff says.

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