annie shrestha and anil kishen

Dentistry startup solves tooth sensitivity with nanotechnology

Dentin sensitivity, an age-old problem affecting an estimated 98% of the population at some point in their lives, is being countered this month through the launch of a novel new product, UNO Gel – and it’s a product with a UofT Dentistry origin story.

Launching the product is Germiphene Corporation, which has partnered with start- up company Oral Antibacterials Inc., founded by Professor Anil Kishen and graduate student Dr. Annie Shrestha, to develop the product.

The gel derives from research conducted by Shrestha and Kishen as part of their NSERC ENGAGE grant. Leveraging their strength in endodontics and nanoparticle technology, the team developed BioSchell, a naturally-derived bioactive nanoparticle polymer for application in the gel product. In conjunction with the gel, these particles form a rapid, protective biocompatible layer overtop the dentin, effectively ending the hypersensitive reaction.

image of UNOgel

After extensively researching the nanoparticles against biofilms and dentin stabilization, Shrestha, chief resident of the Graduate Endodontics program, believes that the nanoparticle technology represents a new generation of technological solutions for oral health problems. “Antibacterial nanoparticles are the way to go for developing novel therapeutic techniques,” she said. 

George Botos, VP of Business Development at Germiphene, agrees. “UNO is the most exciting product launched by Germiphene Corporation in a long time,” said Botos in a statement. He added, “we really believe that the technology commercialized by Oral Antibacterials [Inc.] will create a new industry standard in terms of hypersensitivity treatment in the dental office.”

For Professor Anil Kishen, the commercialization of BioSchell with UNO gel represents a “win-win” situation for patients as well as health care research. “The scientific potential of my lab is geared towards meeting the needs of patients globally, providing effective treatment benefits in the larger context. UNO is just one reflection of the high-level motivation that prevails among Kishen lab team members, and the strong support system within the University of Toronto’s research enterprises.

The commercialization of UNO gel was supported in part by the University of Toronto’s Impact Centre.


 Images: Prof. Anil Kishen with Dr. Annie Shrestha; UNO gel, courtesy Jeff Comber, IITS