Articulate January 2017

Building Bones in North Central Florida

Written By: Lamia Chowdhurry

Nova bone has modified its bioactive glass to where it will not grow ectopic bone, which is the growth of a bone in an abnormal place. 

As home to one of the largest public research universities in the nation, you can guarantee that some of the most innovative products in the country have blossomed in North Central Florida.

On Nov. 9, Gainesville’s Advanced Manufacturing Council held an event at NovaBone with guest speaker Gregory Pomrink, vice president of research and development at NovaBone. Pomrink highlighted NovaBone’s bioactive glass and collagen products, which are part of one of the most complete bone graft product lines offered by any company in the orthopedics and dental industries.

Although both products were created in the late 1960s, it was not until recently that they have been commonly utilized.

“The material was very well studied but not very well commercialized,” Pomrink said. “So, that’s one of our objectives: to commercialize it and make it in user friendly forms for clinicians.”

The bioactive glass was originally created by Dr. Larry Hench of the University of Florida. It works by stimulating genes to make the bones grow. The advanced product releases ions when it is implanted in the body and stimulates a local cellular environment.

The collagen scaffold, on the other hand, was originally developed by Dr. Ioannis Yannas of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pomrink explained that the product functions “like a scaffold” because it allows the cells to go in and do their job by regenerating lost tissue. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body as it forms connective tissue like ligaments, tendons and skin. NovaBone’s manufactured collagen absorbs at about the same rate as the body heals itself, Pomrink said, making it adaptable to essentially any body.

NovaBone takes great pride in its achievements and products as well as how the company differentiates itself from leading competitors. For example, NovaBone has modified its bioactive glass to where it will not grow ectopic bone, which is the growth of a bone in an abnormal place. According to Pomrink, competitors have issues in developing a dental product that grows bone without causing trouble in breathing or swallowing.

“Fortunately, we don’t have that problem, so that’s something we take pride in,” Pomrink said.

NovaBone is excited about the solutions their products can offer to dental and orthopedic surgeons in the future and looks forward to the expansion offered by the Alachua branch.


LAMIA CHOWDHURY is a fourth year public relations major at the University of Florida. She found her love for the communications field through her passion for creativity and writing. When she’s not binge-watching Netlix or discovering new fashion trends, she’s either exploring the outdoors or spending quality time with friends and family.

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