Committed to making antimicrobial materials for 3D printing, Copper3D will launch a new antiviral and biocompatible SLA resin called Glaciarys AR3, ideal for surgical and dental applications. The pioneering Chilean startup has been “hacking materials” since 2018 to develop polymers and medical-grade products that eliminate a wide range of microorganisms and avoid infections. To sell them, it has established a network of more than 20 distributors worldwide and has now announced the opening of new commercial offices in the Netherlands to foster its European expansion strategy. The move aims to tap into one of its most important markets, where demand for Copper3D products is thriving.
Although Copper3D began producing antimicrobial materials for FDM, it is now expanding its portfolio to SLA due to the technology’s inherent high printing quality. The upcoming launch of the Glaciarys AR3 resins is a direct response to specific requests from surgeons and dentists looking for high-performance antimicrobial materials safe for use in surgical environments. The well-validated, biocompatible resin formulation has already been favorably tested as a personalized antimicrobial surgical guide for a complex shoulder arthroplasty performed by Chilean orthopedic shoulder and elbow surgeon Felipe Reinares Silva.
Chief Medical Officer at Copper3D, Claudio Soto, said that, together with Reinares Silva and his team, they were able to test the new resin to design and print a surgical guide that he used for complex shoulder surgery. The resin passed all the pre-surgical processes and showed an “impeccable surgical performance,” which allowed the surgery to succeed. The validation from the trial proved Glaciarys AR3 would be ideal for orthopedic surgeries, as well as many other fields, such as dentistry and rehabilitation.
The company hopes its SLA resin will “disrupt the operating room” by going from digital design to high precision patient-specific, antimicrobial, and biocompatible 3D printed devices in just a couple of days. Considering that antimicrobial and biocompatible patient-specific instruments are now considered the “GPS” of a surgeon, the resins are expected to help them achieve high accuracy, minimum risk of contamination at much lower costs and times than other conventional solutions. Copper3D believes its Glaciarys AR3, described as a “new standard in surgery,” will be available worldwide beginning in the second half of 2021. Also in the works is a new alliance with renowned Chilean healthcare institutions to supply personalized surgical antimicrobial instruments.
Set on revolutionizing the 3D printing industry with its patented and highly effective polymers, Copper3D expects to make breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, where the need to stop new infections and improve patient quality of life is critical. In developed nations alone, between 5 and 10 percent of all patients contract at least one hospital-acquired infection during their stay in an acute care facility, and that number will triple for patients in low- and middle-income countries. The brand’s new breed of “active materials” could turn these numbers around, and that is what they are aiming for.
Copper3D has made a name for itself thanks to its flagship product, the patented, highly effective additive PLA polymer called PLACTIVE, which eliminates almost all fungi, viruses, bacteria, and a wide range of microorganisms. Ideal for 3D printing, the product has already been clinically tested in prosthesis for U.S war veterans with excellent results, but could also serve other uses like postoperative prostheses, wound dressings, surgical equipment, and 3D printed applications in long-term space missions (thanks to two NASA research funds). During 2020, the company kept busy developing a reusable, customizable, antimicrobial, and antiviral 3D printed facemask made with its high-quality nanocomposites PLACTIVE and MDflex. The result of their work was NanoHack, an open-source facemask inspired by the global pandemic.
Part of Copper3D’s scale-up strategy is not only developing new materials but expanding its presence in some of its most demanding markets, like Europe. Since its inception, Europe has been a strategic manufacturing partner and one of its most important distributors, which is why in May 2021, the company began to operate a new office in the Netherlands.
This additional milestone opens up extensive new business opportunities, especially since Copper3D considers the Netherlands to be one of the leading countries in 3D printing applications for key industries. Copper3D’s new office director Suzanne Hopmanas said she sees plenty of new possibilities for the future: “With their antimicrobial 3D printing and active materials, Copper 3D BV is offering a substantial added value to the 3D printing market and will be able to increase the safe and advantageous use of 3D printing for healthcare applications and the mass consumer industry. At this moment more than ever, it is clear that antimicrobial benefits are part of a worldwide solution…and I am sure that investors in the Netherlands and Europe will notice!”
Driven by a very ambitious agenda, the company is stepping up to offer solutions for very demanding segments, including healthcare, food, animal care, and aerospace industries. The team behind Copper3D aspires to address several healthcare challenges by actively developing antimicrobial 3D printing resins that can eliminate viral and bacterial loads from contaminated fluids, such as HIV from breast milk, or dangerous microorganisms from water, like E.coli, Salmonella, and Giardia lamblia. By combining science, nanotechnology, and 3D printing, this startup could turn into an essential weapon against human infections. Especially after looking back at the unforgettable events of 2020, keeping up with innovations in healthcare should become a priority worldwide, and that is something Copper3D is diligently working on.
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