BlueLight Analytics Inc., a Halifax company that helps ensure the proper curing of dental fillings, has partnered with industrial giant 3M Corp. to greatly expand the startup’s sales power in the U.S.
The two companies announced the partnership on Wednesday. Under the terms of the deal, 3M salespeople will offer BlueLight’s flagship product checkMARC, which helps to ensure dentists use their curing light for just the right length of time when curing resin-based fillings.
“This partnership gives us a national presence in the U.S., which is the biggest market for us,” BlueLight chief executive J.P. Furey said in a phone interview from Dallas, where he’s been training 3M sales teams.
“It’s definitely a huge milestone for the company and we think it’s the first of many as we expand globally.”
Growing out of research at Dalhousie University, BlueLight began about seven years ago to solve a problem few dentists spoke about. The lights they use to cure resin vary greatly, and each model has to be used for just the right amount of time to cure the resin properly. Too long a time could adversely affect the tooth and too little would leave the resin only partially cured.
BlueLight developed the checkMARC system, which can test and identify the efficacy of a dental office’s curing lights. Based on the results, 3M will review the light-curing protocols currently in practice. The Minnesota-based company said it can then work with the dental clinic to identify evidence-based opportunities to improve clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction.
BlueLight said that before its technology was commercialized, there was a “quality gap” in the market for dental fillings — a multi-billion-dollar market that is the cornerstone of every dental clinic.
Almost two years ago, BlueLight announced a partnership with the Canadian division of 3M to jointly market checkMARC across Canada, and that led to a broader relationship.
“The last announcement was Canadian-centric,” said Furey, an accountant who became the company’s CEO in the autumn of 2015. “Since then a lot has happened and it has led to pilots in the U.S. and now this deal, which covers the whole U.S. It’s five to 10 times bigger than the Canadian market.”
He added that he and three other BlueLight representatives are in the U.S. this week, training 3M sales representatives in checkMARC. The salespeople are expected to begin offering the service to clients as early as this week.
The relationship with 3M is already expanding beyond North America. The Halifax company has been working with 3M in Australia, New Zealand and Germany.
“As the market leader for restorative dentistry, 3M is dedicated to providing dental professionals the latest technologies and innovations in dentistry to improve practice productivity,” the Minnesota company said in a statement.
BlueLight has partnerships with a few large companies. Also in 2015, it announced a partnership with Henry Schein, the Melville, New York-based medical product distributor whose 2014 sales exceeded US$10 billion.