Desktop Metal Launches New Health 3D Printing Division

ST Metal AM
ST Dentistry

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The news just doesn’t stop when it comes to Desktop Metal (NYSE:DM), and the latest headline from the 3D printing unicorn-turned-publicly-traded company is the launch of Desktop Health, a new business line focused on healthcare-adjacent 3D printed products, such as customizable, patient-specific implants.

“Today the world manufactures more than $85 billion in medical and dental implants each year. We think a large percentage of these parts could be printed and made patient-specific before the end of the decade, making this market a key opportunity for Desktop Metal,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and Co-Founder of Desktop Metal. “We look forward to building a best-in-class team to work with our industry partners to bring patient-specific solutions to the market at-scale.”

So, how exactly did Desktop Metal, which has traditionally been more involved with manufacturing applications for industries such as automotive and defense, switch gears to healthcare 3D printing?

The company began publicly trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the stock ticker “DM” just a few short months ago, after completing its reverse merger with Trine Acquisition Corp. As a result of this post-SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) merger, Desktop Metal had a windfall of $580 million in capital to do with as it pleased. Fulop reminded CNBC during an interview that the company had already been fully funded before the transaction, and thus could use its new funds to “pursue some inorganic opportunities” and “scale the business.” Only a month later, the industry found out what sort of opportunities Desktop Metal had in mind, when the metal 3D printing firm announced that it had purchased EnvisionTEC for $300 million in stock and cash.

Extolled by Desktop Metal as “a pioneer in digital biofabrication additive manufacturing,” EnvisionTEC has been around for nearly two decades and offers close to 200 materials, such as photopolymer resins and many FDA-listed and 510(K)-cleared resins for 3D printing medical devices. The Germany-headquartered company, which also has offices in the US, was the first to commercialize Digital Light Processing (DLP) 3D printing, and has close 1,000 customers, including Smile Direct Club, that use its technology for dental end-use parts. In addition, its 3D-Bioplotter platform supports 3D printing biocompatible parts for medical applications such as bone regeneration, cartilage regeneration, drug release, and soft tissue fabrication.

EnvisionTEC’s existing base of dental customers will no doubt be very helpful for Desktop Metal’s new venture. Desktop Metal has long been a leader in metal mass production and turnkey AM solutions, and with the strong dental foundation that EnvisionTEC provides, it’s focusing the efforts of Desktop Health on speeding up the creation and adoption of patient-specific 3D printed solutions for otolaryngology, orthodontic, and dental applications by using not only its own high-speed metal binder jetting, but also 3D-Bioplotter and DLP technology.

Desktop Health® creates the technology to drive the advancement of personal healthcare,” the new business line’s website states. “We develop, manufacture, and market a suite of leading 3D printing and biofabrication solutions.”

Michael Mazen Jafar

Desktop Metal has hired healthcare executive Michael Mazen Jafar, who has nearly 20 years of experience in creating and scaling healthcare products, to lead Desktop Health as its President and CEO. He led the ophthalmology and medical aesthetics division for Allergan for 16 years, before moving on to serve as the Chief Commercial Officer of performance beauty company Evolus.

“I am excited to join Desktop Metal at such an important time in medical technology. I want to build on years of the company’s research and development to bring its core technology and advanced materials to many healthcare specialties. Desktop Health has a mission to change the way patients experience personalized healthcare, through innovation and science-based solutions,” Jafar said.

“It’s a true privilege to work with leading technology alongside physicians, surgeons and dentists to advance personal care Our technology is widely used for customized in-office digital dentistry, makes customized metal implants possible, and has enabled exploration of applications such as bone regeneration, cartilage regeneration, and soft tissue biofabrication. We look forward to building on our success and ingenuity as we research extensions of our core technology across cardiology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, dermatology and plastic surgery.”

According to the “Additive Manufacturing in Dentistry 2021” report by SmarTech Analysis, dental and orthodontics solutions were one of the most stable and quickly-growing opportunities for 3D printing technologies pre-pandemic, and even though the COVID-19 crisis isn’t over, the field is already on its way to recovery. There are the obvious applications, such as clear aligners, molds, and retainers, but some of the more exciting possibilities in this space include tissue and graft printing, and Desktop Health could potentially explore these in the future.

(Source: Yahoo News / Images: Desktop Metal)

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