Resorbable breast implants is a burgeoning area, with companies like BellaSeno, Lattice Medical, Healshape and anymedi are already working on the technology. Meant for mastectomies initially, these types of implants help reconstruct a breast with a shape and size closer to what the patient had before tissue removal. The breast tissue would then naturally grow, replacing the 3D printed material that is absorbed by the body. Israeli-American firm Stratasys (Nasdaq: SYSS) has announced that it is joining the fray with fellow Israeli company CollPlant (Nasdaq: CLGN). This is all the more remarkable given that CollPlant had a co-development agreement with 3D Systems. CollPlant also works with United Therapeutics, which in turn works with 3D Systems, as well.
Together, the companies hope to make an industrial solution for breast implant production using CollPlant’s rhCollagen material on Stratasys’s Origin One programmable photopolymerization (P3) printers. Stratasys will actually develop and market a derivative of P3 and the companies will cross-promote their products. This is an interesting development for Stratasys, as it is now following 3D Systems into the bioprinting space.
¨Through this partnership with CollPlant, we have an important opportunity to transform healthcare with bioprinting to improve the lives of patients undergoing breast augmentation or reconstruction procedures. This agreement is well-aligned with our strategy to deliver complete solutions for high-growth industry applications with our ecosystem of partners, and the production scale and precision 3D printing capabilities of Stratasys’ P3 Programmable Photopolymerization technology are a particularly strong fit for bioprinting applications. We believe that partnering with CollPlant will enable us to accelerate the industrialization of bioprinting for regenerative medicine, and we look forward to collaborating towards the successful commercialization of CollPlant’s novel regenerative breast implants and beyond,” Stratasys CEO Dr. Yoav Zeif stated.
“Stratasys is leading in additive manufacturing and we are excited to collaborate with them on this transformative initiative. The P3 technology allows printing with high resolution and process control, and we believe that the combined, pioneering technologies of both companies will streamline the development and production process so that we have the most efficient means to produce our regenerative breast implants and other potential tissues and organs. We believe that our rhCollagen-based regenerative implant has the potential to overcome the challenges of existing breast procedures that use silicone implants or autologous fat tissue transfer,” said CollPlant CEO Yehiel Tal.
Following on positive large animal study results in January of this year, CollPlant wants to conduct another one. For this, it needs a lot of cash, investor or otherwise. The firm´s recombinant human collagen, produced from tobacco plants, is an interesting technology. It’s difficult to tell if 3D Systems fell out of love with CollPlant or CollPlant wanted more heft with more partnerships or if everyone just wants to be friends. In a January letter to investors, CollPlant stated that it wanted more partnerships in 3D printing.
On the whole, any product which can produce a 3D printed collagen that can be used in the body has numerous applications. However, such a product will have to go through extensive clinical trials, which can cost millions to billions of dollars. At one point, the most logical thing would be for a much larger company already working with CollPlant, such as Roche, Johnson & Johnson, or Abvie, to acquire the firm and bring it to the next level.
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