Introducing high-speed micrometre-scale printing - the basis for vascularisation required to sustain living cells

Further development of key components of the technology enables expansion of applications in the human body
Basis for accelerated drug development and reduced animal testing using live cells from the bioprinter for laboratory use
3D Systems expands investments to develop new applications and accelerate long-term, profitable growth in the healthcare sector

3D Systems is expanding its initiative in regenerative medicine and bioprinting. Key to this is the collaboration with United Therapeutics Corporation and the company's subsidiary, Lung Biotechnology PBC, which specialises in organ manufacturing and transplantation. Building on this work, as well as successes with other partners, 3D Systems plans to invest in the development and commercialisation of additional solutions for multiple applications in regenerative medicine. These include the development of applications for hollow organs that require a biologically durable vascular supply.

Breakthrough in bioprinting technology

In 2020, 3D Systems and United Therapeutics made significant progress in developing an advanced platform solution for additive manufacturing of lung scaffolds. The Bioprinter rapidly manufactures these full-size structures, fully supplied with blood vessels, with microscopic accuracy. 3D Systems' portfolio ranges from hardware to software to materials science. Combined with United Therapeutics' renowned expertise in regenerative medicine, the company has enabled advancements in lung modelling, 3D printing and material formulation. This uses the unique rhCollagen, which enables material handling that leads to advances in bioprinters and biomaterials for lung manufacturing.

3D Systems has now built a portfolio of new features specifically targeted at regenerative medicine: The newly developed Print to Perfusion process enables 3D printing of high-resolution scaffolds that can be perfused with living cells to generate tissue. The rapid printing of these large, highly detailed hydrogel scaffolds equipped with blood vessels opens up new possibilities for a range of tissue applications. 3D Systems is committed to advancing these efforts and is therefore adding innovations to its Figure 4 high-speed technology - specifically for bioprinting and regenerative medicine. Building on these features, the company will be able to work with partners to develop innovations for numerous applications in the human body in the future. According to the company, these features also have the potential to enable novel laboratory testing methods to accelerate drug development while reducing animal testing.

"As bioprinting and regenerative medicine have evolved in recent years, there has been a growing need to incorporate cells into a high-resolution matrix to fabricate complex tissues," said Chuck Hull, co-founder, executive vice president and CTO of 3D Systems. "The best way to get there is through precision 3D printing with hydrogel, followed by perfusion of cells into the printed scaffold. We are grateful that our collaboration with United Therapeutics has given us the opportunity to further develop and perfect this technology."

"Our collaboration with 3D Systems has allowed us to conduct basic research in regenerative medicine," said Derek Morris, associate director of engineering at Lung Biotechnology PBC. "With 3D Systems bioprinting full-size lung scaffolds equipped with blood vessels, our cellular tissue teams can focus entirely on our corporate goal - creating an unlimited supply of organ transplants."

3D Systems to increase investment in regenerative medicine in 2021

Building on its progress to date, 3D Systems is investing additional resources in research and development in regenerative medicine. The company plans to bring additional regenerative medicine professionals onto the team to build on its extensive technical experience and expertise in these advanced applications. The company is also working with several partners to offer a larger portfolio of solutions. 3D Systems has already announced collaborations with CollPlant Biotechnologies and Antleron that will expand the company's offerings in regenerative medicine.

CollPlant is the developer of the proprietary BioInk technology using recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen), which is also used in the collaboration with United Therapeutics. Together, 3D Systems, with its expertise in 3D printing and healthcare, and CollPlant, with its expertise in rhCollagen-based BioInks, will develop bioprinting workflows for tissue and scaffolds for third-party providers. Together, the companies are addressing an unmet need in the market for a complete solution for manufacturing tissues and scaffolds for use in regenerative medicine.

Antleron is an innovator and pioneer in regenerative medicine in creating personalised manufacturing solutions for novel therapeutic applications. Antleron combines elemental techniques such as 3D printing, bioreactors and artificial intelligence with expertise in bioprocesses to create breakthrough manufacturing workflows for the transformation of cells into living structures. The partnership between 3D Systems and Antleron aims to make 3D printing an integrated part of modular and digital solutions for the manufacturing of the future, enabling sustainable and personalised production of cellular and genetic structures, vaccines, tissues and organs.

More than 25 years of experience in healthcare

3D Systems has been delivering additive manufacturing solutions to the healthcare industry for more than 25 years. The company is known for its VSP® virtual surgical planning solutions, which have enabled the planning of more than 140,000 custom surgical cases, as well as the production of more than two million medical devices at its facilities in Littleton, Colorado, and Leuven, Belgium. NextDent® 5100 - 3D Systems' digital dentistry solution - is the industry-leading solution recognised by dental laboratories and clinics for the production of dental prosthetics and orthodontic products. The company also has a long-standing relationship with Align Technology, Inc, the manufacturer of Invisalign Clear Aligners, iTero scanners and exocad CAD/CAM service. For this company, 3D Systems has co-developed proprietary solutions that include custom hardware, software and non-aligner manufacturing materials that are used to mass produce more than 500,000 patient-specific aligners per day.

The future of regenerative medicine at 3D Systems

"Chuck Hull and his team have made remarkable progress over the past three years in collaboration with United Therapeutics," said Dr Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO of 3D Systems. "By developing new printer hardware, software and biomaterials, they have laid the groundwork for accelerated commercialisation of bioprinting. As we commercialise, we are placing a strong focus on application viability in this emerging industry. We expect these efforts to bring tremendous benefits to critically ill patients, both through direct applications in the human body and by accelerating drug development in the pharmaceutical industry. We expect regenerative medicine to be an exciting growth driver for our healthcare sector over the next decade."
www.3dsystems.com

 

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