Born from innovation
The story of Onbone started at the Chemistry Department of the University of Helsinki, where Petro Lahtinen and Antti Pärssinen were working as researchers. Dr Lahtinen had just completed his Ph.D. on the application of oxidation catalytes to cellulose production; Dr Pärssinen on polymerisation catalytes. The year was 2005.
The pair began to reflect on their research over the last five, six years. Could there be a commercially viable innovation within the work that had already been completed?
Antti had some biodegradable plastics left over from his research; Petro some wood chips, left over from the cellulose bleaching project. They started to mix the ingredients together and to manufacture various combinations of them. After a year of purposeful experimentation, they had produced enough samples, and the researchers started to consider where their new wood composite material could be used.
The first ideas for application were intuitive. Petro and Antti had a notion that biodegradable plastics could be used in surgery, so they arranged for an appointment with a senior orthopaedic surgeon at the Töölö Hospital. This experienced professional could immediately see the potential in this revolutionary innovation and agreed to participate as an industry expert in the further development of the product.
The founding team of Onbone Oy was formed in the summer of 2008: in addition to Dr Lahtinen and Dr Pärssinen, Dr Jari Salo, Mr Matti Vaheri and Dr Karri Airola joined the company. The company was registered in autumn 2008. In 2010, the first product manufactured from the new material – Woodcast Splint – was launched onto the Finnish market. Since then, there has been active product development and today Woodcast product family consists of 17 different products.