updated 5/13/2011 8:46:17 AM ET 2011-05-13T12:46:17

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 13, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Align Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:ALGN) today announced that a total of $165,000 in scientific research funding is being awarded to three universities in North America and three universities internationally for one- and two-year projects seeking to better understand orthodontic treatment with clear aligners.

"We are extremely pleased to see a growing level of scientific interest in orthodontic treatment with clear aligners, and excited that we can help support leading researchers seeking to gain greater insight into the science behind Invisalign treatment," said Dr. Eric Kuo, Align Technology vice president of Clinical Technology.

"This is also the first year where participation in Align's research award program also includes universities outside of North America, which reflects strong adoption of Invisalign treatment worldwide," said Dr. Mitra Derakhshan, Align Technology director of Clinical International.

The North America research award recipients for 2011 are:

  • Dr. Sheldon Baumrind and Dr. Heesoo Oh at the University of the Pacific (San Francisco, CA), $50,000 over two years;
  • Dr. Peter Buschang, Dr. Phillip Campbell, and Dr. Doug Crosby at Baylor College of Dentistry (Dallas, TX), $25,000 over one year;
  • Dr. Madhur Upadhyay and Dr. Sumit Yadav at the University of Connecticut (Farmington, CT), $50,000 over two years.

The International research award recipients for 2011 are:

  • Prof. Dr. Athanasios Athanasiou and Dr. Andreas Karamouzos at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), $10,000 over one year;
  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Bourauel, Dr. Ludger Keilig, Dr. Jörg Schwarze, and Mareike Simon at the University of Bonn (Germany), $20,000 over two years;
  • Prof. Dr. Luca Levrini, Prof. Dr. Gian Marco Abbate, Dr. Federico Migliori, and Silvia Margherini at the University of Insubria, Varese (Italy), $10,000 over one year.

Study proposals approved for funding this year include a periodontal health evaluation of teenagers treated with Invisalign aligners, an analysis of treatment changes in adolescent clear aligner patients, a biomechanical evaluation of clear aligners, an assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of clear aligner treatment, an evaluation of root resorption and periodontal status of patients treated with Invisalign aligners, and a color evaluation of Vivera® orthodontic retainers.

Align Technology first announced the Clear Aligner Research Award Program in 2009. Eligible applicants include full- and part-time university faculty involved in orthodontic scientific research, as well as non-orthodontic scientists whose work may contribute to the improvement of clear aligner therapy. Program details and instructions for prospective applicants are available at www.aligntechinstitute.com/researchawards (for North America) and www.aligntechinstitute.com/internationalresearch (for International). All proposals received are reviewed and prioritized by an independent academic committee. Two-year projects are subject to a committee review of the research progress achieved before the second year of funding can be approved. The academic committee chair for 2011 was Dr. Timothy Wheeler, professor and chairman of the Department of Orthodontics at the University of Florida. 

About Align Technology, Inc.

Align Technology designs, manufactures and markets Invisalign, a proprietary method for treating malocclusion, or the misalignment of teeth. Invisalign corrects malocclusion using a series of clear, nearly invisible, removable appliances that gently move teeth to a desired final position. Because it does not rely on the use of metal or ceramic brackets and wires, Invisalign significantly reduces the aesthetic and other limitations associated with braces. Invisalign is appropriate for treating adults and teens. Align Technology was founded in March 1997 and received FDA clearance to market Invisalign in 1998.The Invisalign product family includes Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, Invisalign Assist, Invisalign Express, and Vivera Retainers.

To learn more about Invisalign or to find an Invisalign trained doctor in your area, please visit www.invisalign.com .

Cadent Holdings, Inc. is a subsidiary of Align Technology and is a leading provider of 3D digital scanning solutions for orthodontics and dentistry. The Cadent family of products includes iTero and OrthoCAD iOC scanning systems, OrthoCADiCast, OrthoCAD iQ and OrthoCAD iRecord. For additional information, please visit www.cadentinc.com .

CONTACT: Investor Relations Contact
         Yin Cantor
         Align Technology, Inc.
         (408) 470-1044
         Press Contact
         Shannon Mangum Henderson
         Ethos Communication, Inc.
         (678) 261-7803

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