A Washington dentist-turned-small businessman unveiled a new product this week that appears destined to solidify his growing role in a industry he calls "infection control."
Dr. Robert L. Schattner, the man who invented a major antiseptic mouthwash called Chloraseptic in 1952 and became so successful at product development that he stopped pulling teeth, is now offering a chemical solution that sterilizers medical instruments.
Trademarked "Sporicidin," Schattner's new formula completes the sterilization process at room temperatures - one-third faster than any comparable product on the market, according to test results of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In an interview at his Northwest Washington office, Schattner said the solution kills all forms of disease-causing mocroorganisms and has been approved as a disinfectant, even when diluted with water.
Sporicidin was made available for the fist time this week to Washington area hospitals, clinics and medical offices in a test market program being conducted by American Hospital Supply. The large hospital supply firm plans to unveil the product next week in San Antonio and Atlanta.
American Hospital, which markets products manufactured by other firms, has said the marketing test "could welll be the most significant . . . we have done for any product." Behind that assessment are figures showing annual sales of cold sterilizing solutions to be about $15 million.
Schattner's new product will compete with "Cidez," produced by the Arbrook division of Johnson & Johnson.
"It is an alternative to the cumbersome methods currently used, such as boiling water, pressurized heat, gas treatment and chemo-sterilizers which require 10 hours or more to be effective," said Schattner.
He noted that EPA recently said that the widely-used gas treatment (ethlene oxide), has been found in laboratory experiments to damage genitals of test animals. Restrictions on use of the gas are being studied.
Varied solutions developed by Schattner, to treat instruments that become breeding grounds for organisms, were tested by Drs. Eddie D. Leach and Richard Lura at Milligan College in Tennessee, and Dr. Rollin E. Pepper, of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.
To produce the new product, Schattner has established a new firm with manufacturing facilities in Baltimore.Other production centers will be opened in Philadelphia and on the West Coast, he said.
After Schattner's Chloraseptic Co. reached annual sales levels of more than $1 million, he sold it in 1963 to Norwich Pharmacal Co., which currently markets several products with the basic formula. Schattner then established his own firm, R. Schattner Co., to develop other products.
Among subsequent inventions have been a sanitizing solution with which hospital bedding and garments can be germ-proofed for two or more years.
The product unveiled this week took seven years of research. Schattner lamented the "practical impossiblility of survival for a little guy" engaged in such research - persons without the initial boost he got with the success of Chloraseptic.
"Costly, time-consuming delays" by government regulatory agencies "will curtail small business research with almost all being done now by big companies," he asserted. But he's taking on an industry giant now without a large organization.