As an investor in Biolectrics, a company that makes a battery-powered mouthpiece – think sports mouth guard -- that treats periodontal diseases with electric stimulation, Paul Ruflin began thinking about the device’s potential in other applications.
“The mouthpiece delivers a small amount of current that kills oral bacteria,” Ruflin explains. “In the lab it kills 75 to 100 percent of bacteria in the mouth in five to 10 minutes. The early results are promising in killing oral bacteria.”
With human trials completed at the University of Buffalo, Ruflin has created Animal Oralectrics
, based out of MAGNET
’s offices. The company uses the same technology as Biolectrics but applies it toward dogs, sheep, cows and cats. “Animals are five percent more likely to have periodontal disease than humans,” says Ruflin. “Less than one percent of dog owners brush their dogs’ teeth or takes them to the vet for a cleaning.”
Ruflin recently created a prototype on a 3D printer and is working with Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine to test Animal Oralectrics on dogs. So far, the response has been positive. “This device kills oral bacteria, prevents gingivitis and gum loss,” explains Ruflin. “The current is undetectable. The concept here is to make a device that gives treatment but looks like a chew toy or pull toy. You can even put a treat in the end of it. The key is getting them to engage with it for five to 15 minutes.”
The Innovation Fund
recently awarded Animal Oralectrics a $25,000 grant to further develop its product. Currently, the company consists of just Ruflin and an intern from CWRU
. But he plans to hire a marketing and social media person soon. He also plans on running a crowd funding campaign before releasing the product in of 2014.
Ultimately, Ruflin predicts he will add seven to 10 direct employees and another 15 to 20 indirect employees over the next two or three years.
Source: Paul Ruflin
Writer: Karin Connelly