Do Ya Think 3D Systems is Pursuing the Medical Market?

3D print materials produced by NextDent

3D print materials produced by NextDent

An announcement this week from 3D Systems has, for me, settled the debate about 3D Systems’ strategy going forward. 

The otherwise routine announcement was about their acquisition of a dental materials provider, NextDent. However, there’s clearly a pattern here. Let’s examine the companies recent press releases: 

  • 3D Systems to Transform Digital Dentistry with Acquisition of Dental Materials Pioneer NextDent
  • 3D Systems Leverages Virtual Reality to Advance Surgical Training
  • 3D Systems Expands its Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP®) Service to Include Cranial Applications
  • 3D Systems Previews D2P Software Solution for Converting Medical DICOM Data to Digital 3D Models
  • 3D Systems Extends Patient-Specific 3D Modeling and Printing Service to Aid Cardiology Procedures
  • 3D Systems Healthcare Solutions Advance Treatment of National Sled Hockey Champion

I’m sure you see what I see: almost all of their press releases for the past five months have been about the healthcare industry. 

I first noticed this in person when I encountered a healthcare partner exhibiting at their booth at a show a year ago, which I felt seemed a bit out of place as they would have typically simply shown equipment and software itself. But since that time there has been an increasing amount of healthcare “stuff” of various kinds from 3D Systems. 

Now on the this most recent announcement. 3D Systems describes NextDent as follows: 

Vertex Dental and NextDent are leading global innovators and manufacturers of photopolymer, thermoplastic, polymer and monomer materials for traditional and 3D printing dental applications. NextDent has developed 12 dental 3D printing materials to date and has obtained regulatory approval for use of these materials in more than 70 countries worldwide. NextDent’s portfolio of 3D printing materials allow dental professionals to produce trays, models, drilling templates, dentures, orthodontic splints, crowns and bridges with enhanced speed, precision and efficiency and lower cost compared to conventional procedures.

Ok, this makes sense. They’re taking on a major supplier of 3D printing materials to develop synergies and perhaps exclusive use of materials for their equipment as well. 

But here’s the interesting thing: I believe this could be the first corporate acquisition made by 3D Systems since the departure of Avi Reichental and the installation of his successor, Vyomesh Joshi. 

Reichental’s regime at 3D Systems was riddled with dozens of acquisitions of 3D printing or related companies. 

As I’ve written in the past, many of these acquisitions simply didn’t make sense to me, until I realized it was simply long-term strategy to boost the stock price. 

But with his departure, that strategy evaporated and no acquisitions occurred. 

Until now. And clearly they aren’t using the same old strategy. No, it seems the company may be quite serious about this corporate maneuver and legitimately will leverage NextDent’s products in the healthcare (dental) market. 

Via 3D Systems

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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