Materialise Expands Michigan Facility for Cranio-maxillofacial 3D Printing


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From the heart of Belgium to the bustling medical hubs of America, Materialise (Nasdaq: MTLS) is making big moves. Once focused on 3D printing its titanium cranio-maxillofacial (CMF) implants solely in Belgium, the company has set up a new 3D printing facility in Plymouth, Michigan. But this isn’t just about planting a new flag in its US headquarters; it’s about getting these implants to American doctors faster and more reliably. Alongside its current production of 3D printed surgical guides and anatomical models already crafted in the US, this expansion is set to improve personalized medical care across the country.

Surgeons everywhere are rapidly recognizing the pivotal role of 3D printing in advancing patient-specific care. According to a report by SmarTech Analysis, the medical 3D printing market is estimated to reach $6.08 billion by 2027. Driven by such growth, this technology offers the potential for improved surgical predictability and precision, not to mention notable time savings during surgery itself. A study in Academic Radiology revealed that 3D-printed anatomical models could cut surgery time by 62 minutes on average, resulting in less risk for the patient and savings of over $3,700 per case, based on a review of more than 30 studies on orthopedic and maxillofacial surgeries.

Materialise has been at the heart of this transformative wave. Over its three-decade-long journey, the company has produced more than 280,000 personalized 3D printed instruments and implants annually—with 160,000 tailored for the US market alone—making significant advances to popularize the use of the technology in the medical sphere. It has supported more than 30,000 surgeries with Materialise Personalized Solutions and more than five million implants placed worldwide from its range of Materialise Standard+ Solutions. Additionally, its pioneering efforts introduced one of the first personalized CMF implant portfolios in the US in 2017. The brand’s cutting-edge approach was further demonstrated in 2021 when its 3D planning and instruments were vital to the world’s first simultaneous double hand and face transplant at NYU Langone Health in Manhattan.

Materialise metal 3D printer at the US site. Image courtesy of Materialise.

The new facility will focus exclusively on 3D printing personalized titanium CMF implants, which play a crucial role in facial reconstructive surgeries. Establishing this dedicated facility in the US ensures that the specific needs of surgeons are addressed with unmatched reliability. More importantly, it dramatically reduces the delivery time for these fully personalized implants.

Brigitte de Vet, Vice President of Medical at Materialise, emphasized the significance of this new facility: “With the opening of our new metal 3D printing center in the US, we bring personalized care closer to US patients.”

Materialise provides a comprehensive suite of CMF solutions that cater to a range of surgical needs, from orthognathic and neurosurgery to reconstructive procedures and trauma care. These personalized and off-the-shelf offerings are supported by advanced 3D planning tools and the expertise of global clinical engineers. Materialise focuses on optimizing surgical efficiency and improving patient outcomes through these tailored solutions. Additionally, the European CE mark certification streamlines administrative tasks, reducing paperwork and making the process more efficient for healthcare providers.

CMF implant. Image courtesy of Materialise.

Materialise’s CEO, Wilfried Vancraen, recently announced a significant US expansion during the company’s latest earnings call. Despite facing challenges in the second quarter of 2023, the medical division experienced robust growth, with revenue increasing by 20%. The expansion includes the new Plymouth facility. This move not only complements Materialise’s existing US production of 3D printed surgical guides but also strengthens its partnership with Johnson & Johnson.

Materialise opening a new 3D printing place in the US shows that physicians and their patients are looking for new ways to get better. It underlines the importance of localized production facilities to address specific regional demands and reduce logistical challenges.

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