To Indraneel Kanaglekar, leading a successful dental business is similar to playing a sport.
As the Global President of ZimVie’s Dental division, he’s there to win for his customers and the patients they serve. And he’s certainly racked up some impressive victories in his short time at the helm, including two major acquisitions that filled gaps in the company’s digital workflow for implants.
“The biggest difference is, when you’re playing a sport, you know the rules of the game. You know exactly what you need to do to improve your skills,” said Kanaglekar, who came to the dental industry with a background in corporate acquisitions and mergers. “In business, you have to figure out the rules of the game and how to train yourself to get better. That’s what attracted me to this role, that’s the fun and where the strategy comes in. Where I add the most value is data mining that strategy and making those capital allocation decisions.”
Kanaglekar has been with the company for more than 11 years, leading strategy and development across several business units until he took on his current role in 2021. Though he came to Zimmer Biomet, now ZimVie, from outside the dental industry, he’s gained a lot of domain knowledge along the way, with his competitive nature driving him to find new ways to grow the business.
He describes dentistry as a very high-touch business; you have to be in tune with what dentists want and need to be successful. Products like the implants his company provides transform patients’ lives, restoring their chewing and function and giving them their confidence back. And the market is unique. Unlike many medical devices, which are typically sold directly to hospitals and labs, there’s more of a consumer and family business element in dental that Kanaglekar enjoys.
“It’s a market with a lot of action,” he said. “There’s an element of B to B and B to C, and that makes the market more interesting. Additionally, it’s a private pay and private insurance-driven market, which makes it more dependent on the macroeconomy. But again, when you’re in business you’re there to win, so all these challenges present opportunities, and that makes it fun.”
Moving to Digital Dentistry
Digital dentistry is the most critical innovation area in implant dentistry. However, their portfolio didn’t include software to support a robust end-to-end digital workflow or a service to provide guided surgery. Kanaglekar’s goal was to fill those portfolio gaps and provide solutions that delivered a unique value proposition to the customer. He did that by acquiring RealGUIDE™ and Implant Concierge™.
The company first purchased Implant Concierge, Kanaglekar said, which is a guided surgery solution that helps the dentist design, plan and print surgical guides so they don’t have to do it on their own. While a great service, it was based on a competitor’s software platform. So, ZimVie purchased RealGUIDE, which Kanaglekar describes as the best software platform for digital dentistry, and integrated it with Implant Concierge. ZimVie has since launched a new guided surgery solution for its implants and continued to evolve the RealGUIDE platform.
The software not only handles implant planning, design, and guide, it also tackles the CAD side of the crown and denture design aspect, he said—and ZimVie is the only company to offer all aspects in one software. It’s all in the same software module, allowing clinicians to complete an entire implant case from start to finish, from planning to surgery to design. That saves dentists both money and time.
“It’s a big value addition. We are continuing to innovate on the RealGUIDE platform, and that’s where we are seeing tremendous traction from the market,” Kanaglekar said. “Our acquisition strategy was driven by a goal to provide the best end-to-end digital surgical solution. We identified we needed to fill certain gaps with products and services that are truly differentiators.”
Both principals of the acquired companies are still working with ZimVie and contributing in leadership roles, Kanaglekar said. Creating a culture where that is possible is key to a successful acquisition. So is finding companies with leaders who not only exhibit integrity but are passionate about their products and ultimately what they can do for patients.
“I feel blessed and fortunate that the companies we’ve acquired offer not just great technology,” he said, “but leaders who have helped us drive the business in the right direction.”
What Makes ZimVie Different
ZimVie also offers high-quality products, with the company’s implants boasting a success rate of more than 98%, Kanaglekar said. The implants, such as TSX™ and the T3® line, were designed using features that have a long clinical history, so dentists know they’re reliable. And with the company’s most recent innovations, there’s no need for dentists to buy a new surgical kit to place the implants.
ZimVie also has optimized implant design and surgical protocols, providing primary stability for immediate placement after tooth extraction. Implants also can be restored immediately after placement without sacrificing precision, he said.
“While other implants provide an immediate solution, they’re not as precise because they’re extremely aggressive,” Kanaglekar said. “We’ve struck the right balance.”
ZimVie’s proprietary surface technology is another competitive advantage, he said. The implants feature a collar that’s just rough enough to ensure bone tissue will grow around it without being attractive to bacteria. Meanwhile, the surface technology below the collar region is rougher to provide optimal osseointegration.
Beyond offering high-quality solutions and implants, Kanaglekar is also focused on building a great team to continue innovating and to execute on his strategies moving forward. He knows he can rely on the people around him, some of whom have been with the company for years, while others have joined through mergers or have more recently come on board to fulfill strategic needs —all critical to success and differentiating ZimVie from its competitors.
A Focus on Education
ZimVie has made implant education a priority for customers, and Kanaglekar believes they offer the highest quality education available, whether online or in person.
“The mode of education and the content is what we tailor to a clinician’s purpose,” Kanaglekar said. “We offer a variety of topics from clinical skills to practice building skills, and they can choose what they want to learn and how. That’s what differentiates our education. If they want to learn on the web app they can do that. If they want to go for some hands-on training, they can do that too. We also offer cadaver-based courses and live patient-based courses. Everything is possible.”
The company constantly updates its education infrastructure, Kanaglekar said, and recently opened its sixth facility in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. KOLs lead the education at these state-of-the-art facilities with locations in the U.S. and abroad, but ZimVie also holds various events in the field. The courses continue to evolve, with the latest and greatest technology always incorporated into the curriculum.
ZimVie has more than 100,000 educational touchpoints every year, he said, conducting thousands of courses in their facilities and beyond. There are many ways they can collaborate with study clubs and other large third-party institutions, all depending on their needs.
Finding the Right KOLs
To develop a strong educational program, you need the best speakers for your courses, a priority for ZimVie. Kanaglekar looks for KOLs who are on the cutting edge of technology and clinical practice.
It’s also important for KOLs to represent the changing demographics of today’s dentists, Kanaglekar said. Dentists are becoming younger and there are now more women in the field, and ZimVie’s KOLs reflect that.
KOLs also must be articulate and engaging, as well as on top of their implant game.
“The way implant dentistry is done is also changing, going from analog to digital,” he said, “and we have to ensure our KOLs are at the forefront and driving innovation.”
Serving Oral Surgeons, Periodontists, Dentists, and DSOs
Specialists make up a large percentage of our customer base, Kanaglekar said. Team members pride themselves on serving specialists with top-notch education and products and supporting restoring dentists’ clinical needs. However, there’s been a bit of a shift in the market, as DSOs are playing a much bigger role than before. And Kanaglekar believes ZimVie is well-positioned to serve their implant dentistry needs.
“The nature of dental practices is changing, and there are now a lot of DSOs that are growing,” he said. “That has become a crucial segment to serve. We’re also serving a lot of GPs because we’re a premium company. We want to ensure we train dentists in DSOs on the absolute best manner of how to place and restore dental implants. We do that by providing the best implant education supported by digital tools such as guided surgery. We work to ensure we’re supporting our DSO and GOMS partners with their supply chain needs, staff training, patient education, and practice management tools, all so that we can act as a one-stop-shop for all their clinical and non-clinical needs related to tooth replacement procedures.”
The Importance of Support
Kanaglekar has had great bosses throughout his career who have been invested in his professional and personal growth, he said, and it started right out of business school when he joined a healthcare-focused management consulting firm, ZS Associates. Following his time at ZS Associates, he began working at Danaher Corporation in mergers and acquisitions. Both provided great training grounds, he said. Since then, he’s had various bosses who have encouraged him to take appropriate risks and to stretch himself—including his current boss, ZimVie President and CEO, Vafa Jamali.
Kanaglekar even had mentors outside the office push him to go beyond mergers and acquisitions to actually run a business, he said. That nudging led to a conversation with his then boss, who gave him the reigns to lead a business unit—opening up even more opportunities and setting a new path for his career.
Today, as the leader of ZimVie’s dental business, he continues to be a fierce competitor who’s always focused on the patient.
“The business was declining, and I was able to turn it around and drive growth,” he said. “I feel blessed to have been in the position to lead one of the top dental implant companies in the market, and I’m very bullish about the future of this business. I’m looking forward to taking it to bigger and better heights as ZimVie continues to advance clinical technology foundational to restoring the lives of the patients we serve.”
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ZimVie Dental: Global Leader in Dental Implants and Spine Innovations