One medtech megamerger squeaked in on the last day of 2020. Dentsply Sirona this week announced that it has bought Byte, a maker of clear tooth aligners, for just over $1bn in cash in a deal that closed on December 31. Clear aligners are big business, as the startling growth of Align Technology over the past four years has demonstrated, and Byte’s technology will fit with Denstsply’s own clear aligner range, SureSmile. But Byte has an interesting angle to its business which might be of particular relevance during the current Covid-19 crisis: everything is done remotely. The customer signs up on the website and receives a tooth impression kit in the post; they then send their impressions back to Byte. After these are reviewed by an orthodontist, custom-made aligners and a treatment plan are delivered to the patient’s door. This is in contrast to Align’s model, which calls for in-person consultations, meaning that the two groups will not compete directly. Dentsply, currently the world’s largest dental device maker, expects Byte to generate 2021 sales of around $200m, tripling the size of its clear aligner business. Byte is profitable, too, and so should add to Dentsply’s earnings this year.
Note: forecasts date from before the Dentsply Sirona-Byte deal closed on December 31.