Growing Bones & Tissue

In the space of only six years, Dr. Drazen Tadic and Oliver Bielenstein were able to build up a globally successful biotech company

Oliver Bielenstein, Dr. Drazen Tadic Foto:botiss biomaterials group

Oliver Bielenstein never thought he would one day set up something called a „Human Cadaver Course“ in the pathology department of a Viennese hospital involving fifteen human heads and 30 doctors trying out the latest implant and tissue techniques over the course of two days. „When I saw it for the first time myself, it changed me,“ explains the economist, former investment banker and partner at Ernst & Young.

Today, Bielenstein is the managing director of Botiss, an innovative, clinically oriented biotech company with head offices in Berlin. The words „bone“ and „tissue“ are hidden in this acronym. The company is number two in Europe for dental bone and soft tissue regeneration. Botiss was founded in 2008 by Bielenstein and Dr. Drazen Tadic, the scientific mind behind the company.

Seventy percent of the company‘s work is devoted to the dental field, and they also work closely with doctors and an international network of university hospitals in the areas of R&D, application and continuing education. When asked about their core expertise, Bielenstein explains „We make bones out of holes and grow new gum tissue.“

Not an easy task. Indeed, major forces are at work on teeth – up to 80 kilograms per square centimeter. In order for the screw of a dental implant to hold, it needs a solid foundation. This is not always a given and the body cannot always generate it itself. For this reason, Botiss developed different substances on which new blood vessels can grow and bones can form. „Each year, we bring one or two new products to the market,“ explains Bielenstein. Botiss is also active in the field of collagen matrices, among others for use in neurosurgery and breast reconstruction.

Anyone who wants to understand the company‘s unique feature needs merely to look over dentists‘ shoulders into patients‘ mouths: sometimes, bones need to be rebuilt in the sinus cavity, sometimes there are three millimeters missing on the lower jaw, sometimes even five. Different materials are needed for different problems, which range from human donor bones to synthetic materials such as calcium phosphate and from heat-processed bovine bones to collagen matrices.

This is why Botiss started developing a portfolio of materials that was tailored to different indications – for both hard and soft tissue. „We have a tool kit from which customers can pick the best tool,“ explains the 49-year-old. In order to simplify complex surgical operations, Botiss also offers blocks of bones that can be shaped individually using scanning and CAD software.

Within six years, the company grew to 100 employees at five locations. Botiss‘ main offices are in City West. „Drazen and I didn‘t want to set up shop in an industrial park,“ explains Bielenstein. The team uses the area as an effective base for its worldwide activities. Botiss organizes web conferencing sessions on its „Education Platform“ and puts on roughly 500 seminars and training courses every year. One of them is the „Human Cadaver Course“ in Vienna. Although it sounds macabre, it has a high-end medical value: „Every surgeon who has participated so far has been extremely excited,“ says Bielenstein.

Susanne Hörr
Kluge Köpfe 2015