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Increased Penetration in Teen Market Is Still Align’s Focus

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Teen market penetration in 2017

Every year, approximately 75% of Align Technology’s (ALGN) total orthodontic case starts are for teens. For fiscal 2017, 26% of Invisalign’s clear aligner case starts were for teenagers. That represents 237,000 teenage cases and a growth of ~40.4%.

In 4Q17, Align Technology reported 63,500 new Invisalign cases for teenagers, representing a YoY (year-over-year) growth of ~44.1%. The growth was mainly driven by continued strong global adoption, especially in younger teens and tweens. In 4Q17 for North American orthodontists, Align witnessed an Invisalign teen patient growth of 47.8%, while international growth was ~64.7%. For the fifth consecutive quarter, Invisalign teenage patient volumes grew more than the adult patient volume.

On a sequential basis, North American ortho teen cases declined as orthodontists shifted their focus to adult patients in fiscal 4Q17.

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New initiatives that drove teenage case volume growth in 2017

In 2017, Align Technology continued to focus on more teenage patients adopting its Invisalign clear aligners. Teenagers are increasingly shifting from standard braces to clear aligners available in the market. Invisalign has been able to capture the majority of this segment. Some of the other players offering aligners are Henry Schein (HSIC), Dentsply Sirona (XRAY), and smaller firms such as ClearCorrect. Zimmer Biomet Holdings (ZBH) is one of the larger US medical device companies offering dental technology solutions, but it hasn’t entered the clear aligner space.

Align Technology has launched a direct-to-consumer marketing program focusing on teenagers and their moms. The company also launched the first clear aligner solution for Class II correction in March 2017. The Invisalign Teen with mandibular advancement (or MATH) was launched in some of the markets in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), APAC (Asia-Pacific), and Canada. The company has shipped more than 5,000 MATH cases in 2017. More than 50% of them were shipped in 4Q17.

The launch of MATH in the United States is expected in the second half of 2018 since the company is undergoing the 510k regulatory approval process with the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration).

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