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18 Oct 2012 | Press Release

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Straumann and Align discontinue distribution agreement for iTero intra-oral scanners

Distribution News

Straumann and Align Technology, Inc. today announced that they have decided to discontinue their distribution agreements for the iTero intra-oral 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 Inc., 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 & CEO of Straumann, explained the rationale behind Straumann's decision: "We are convinced that intra-oral 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. Furthermore, we are convinced that iTero is one of the best intra-oral 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 intra-oral 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 intra-oral scan. As a result, we no longer need to sell intra-oral 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 fully committed to providing continued support and services to existing iTero customers. The two companies are currently 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.

Straumann is strongly committed to digital dentistry and the development of digital workflows as part of its CARES platform and product offering. 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 intra-oral scanning staff and further details in this respect will be communicated with the company's third quarter results on 30 October. Intra-oral scanner sales contribute approximately one percent of Straumann's Group net revenues.

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