Mass manufacturing may be the future of 3D printing (one hopes), but health products are very much its present. From orthodontics to prosthesis, medical needs are right in the sweet spot for additive manufacturing. Prototyping is a category with a specific ceiling, while true mass manufacturing is still at an impossible scale for most of these systems. Medical and dental present a larger market that still requires a good deal of customization.
Today, Desktop Metal announced that it launched Desktop Health, a line specifically devoted to healthcare-adjacent products. The line encompasses a number of different technologies, including binder jetting, bioprinting and various materials.
“Today the world manufactures more than $85 billion in medical and dental implants each year,” Desktop Metal CEO Ric Fulop said in a release. “We think a large percentage of these parts could be printed and made patient-specific before the end of the decade, making this market a key opportunity for Desktop Metal.
Dentistry/orthodontics continue to be top of mind (think retainers and Invisalign-style braces, to start), but current and future applications extend beyond that. The list includes things like tissue and graft printing, as the company explores how the process might grow in the future.
Leading the division is Michael Mazen Jafar. The former COO of Evolus will be coming on board as the CEO of the new line. “Desktop Health has a mission to change the way patients experience personalized healthcare, through innovation and science-based solutions,” he says in the release.
The additive manufacturing company announced plans to go public via SPAC last August. This January, it purchased EnvisionTEC for $300 million. The German company specializes in photopolymer printing, a key emerging technology for dental. It already sported 1,000 dental customers, including Smile Direct Club, which will no doubt serve as a key foundation for the new division.