3D Systems made what it calls strategic acquisitions of two companies last month.
3D Systems has been gradually building its capabilities in the 3D printed healthcare industry, and one of the acquisitions lines up in that area.
This February the company announced significant developments in their bioprinting applications. They combined technology from their partners to achieve a “next generation additive manufacturing platform solution for lung scaffolds”, using artificial collagen developed by another of their acquisitions, CollPlant.
Philadelphia-based Allevi is one of the two acquisitions. Sarah interviewed their founder in 2019, where we learned more about their process and capabilities. They produce a line of bioprinters and specialized bioinks for them.
They’ve been developing technology that would eventually allow users to “bring their own cells” to a bioprinting solution, and be able to produce compatible tissues.
3D Systems has stated in the past they intend on adapting their popular Figure 4 SLA platform for use with bioprinting solutions. With the acquisition of Allevi, it may be they’ve found more components to integrate into a future Figure 4 Bioprinter solution.
3D Systems said:
“With the company’s continuing progress toward in vivo regenerative medicine applications, there exists a further opportunity to extend this technology to meet the growing near-term demand for advanced bioprinting solutions in medical and pharmaceutical research & development laboratories. These labs increasingly use 3D bioprinting to create three-dimensional cellular structures that imitate natural tissues, bones, and blood vessels in the body, facilitating the in vitro study of regenerative medicine and the development of new drug therapies.”
3D printed tissue and in particular human organs are extraordinarily complex items, and to produce them many components and technologies will be required. Perhaps that’s why 3D Systems has been acquiring many companies in this area in recent years.
But there was another acquisition by 3D Systems simultaneously announced: they’ve picked up Additive Works.
Additive Works is a German firm specializing in simulation software used for optimizing 3D print job setup. Their tools can rapidly determine optimal part orientation, support structures and other complex aspects of industrial 3D printing. Today many companies operating industrial 3D printers must hire rare engineers to organize successful 3D print jobs, and the Additive Works tools can perform some of this activity automatically.
3D Systems intends on incorporating these tools into their 3DXpert system, which should make the easy-to-use 3D printing software even more powerful.
Interestingly, 3D Systems says Additive Works’ CAD plugins will still be available as standalone offerings for those not using 3D Systems equipment.
3D Systems CEO Jeffrey Graves said:
“We continue to deliver on our four-phase plan with an increasing focus on investing for accelerated growth and profitability. I’m excited by the expertise, capabilities and technologies we are adding to the 3D Systems portfolio with Allevi and Additive Works. Through these investments, we are enriching our solutions portfolio to address a much broader healthcare market, including the extremely exciting market for regenerative medicine, while accelerating the adoption rate for AM across industrial applications. These investments will bring added value to our customers, open new markets for our technology, and result in accelerated growth and profitability that will allow 3D Systems to thrive in the exciting years ahead.”
It seems 3D Systems is executing a strategy here through these and previous acquisitions: they all seem to fit into a coordinated plan to achieve manufacturing and healthcare success. This is quite unlike the seemingly random corporation acquisitions 3D Systems performed in the 2010-2015 period, and good news for 3D Systems and its investors.
Via 3D Systems