U.S. 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems has unveiled plans to expand on its bioprinting program after acquiring Volumetric Biotechnologies for $400 million. Bought for an initial $45 million, with a further $355 million set to be paid upon the completion of application-specific goals, Volumetric Biotechnologies is a developer of 3D bioprinting technologies, that it says are capable of creating bespoke “World-changing” biological structures. “Our work on a vertically-integrated platform for the 3D printing of organ scaffolds followed by cellularization to create fully-compatible human organs, dovetails perfectly with the work being done by 3D Systems and United Therapeutics,” said Volumetric Biotechnologies’ Jordan Miller. The company has also invested heavily in bioprinting, buying bioprinter developer Allevi to expand on its ability to create in-vivo cellular structures, and it recently announced “Tremendous progress” within its Print to Perfusion program as well. Predominantly designed to address R&D applications, the company sells just a single bioprinter in the form of the Lumen X, which was first brought to market via a partnership with CELLINK. Using its bioprinting technologies, Volumetric has set out create viable organs, primarily focusing its efforts on vascularized liver structures, generating expertise that 3D Systems will now inherit via its acquisition, while its soon-to-be subsidiary has also developed proprietary materials, that could benefit its ongoing research. Within his new role, Miller is set to work with 3D Systems and United Therapeutics to advance their lung 3D bioprinting efforts, and expand their technology’s applications into the creation of two new organs, as well as developing treatments for trauma and disease. 3D bioprinting may still be an emerging technology, but given the number of start-ups whose systems continue to test the limits of cellular viability, surely it’s only a matter of time before biofabrication becomes mainstream.
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