3D Systems buys Medical Modeling, consolidates healthcare activities

3D Systems (3DS; Rock Hill, SC) announced today that it has acquired Medical Modeling Inc. (Golden, CO), a provider of personalized surgical treatments and patient-specific medical devices using 3D modeling and printing technology. The company has been involved in tens of thousands of patient cases for surgical planning tools, implants, and other design services. Its manufacturing processes have been cleared by FDA.

3DS also announced that it will consolidate all healthcare activities into a single business unit under the leadership of Medical Modeling President Andy Christensen, who has been named 3DS' Vice President, Personalized Surgery and Medical Devices.

Medical Modeling provides Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP), a service-based approach to personalized surgery that combines medical imaging, surgical simulation, and additive manufacturing. This allows surgeons access to the most up-to-date toolbox for challenging head and neck surgical procedures, according to the company.

Medical Modeling famously produced a 3D-printed model skull of conjoined Egyptian twins that was instrumental to their successful surgical separation in Dallas, TX, in 2003. It was awarded the 3D Systems Stereolithography Excellence Award in 2003 in recognition of its contribution to this landmark procedure.

With today's acquisition, 3DS President and CEO Avi Reichental said in a video interview (embedded below) with Christensen that he "is excited to take this next leg of the journey together . . . combining our knowledge, experience, strength, and vision to create exponentially greater growth for the benefit of mankind and for our investors."

Growth forecasts for the 3D printing market vary widely, with a recent report from Canalys predicting that it will surge 500% over the next five years. More conservative analysts peg growth in the double digits over the next several years. Medical technology, automotive, and aerospace typically are cited as the leading applications.

Norbert Sparrow

Norbert Sparrow is Senior Editor at PlasticsToday. Follow him on twitter @norbertcsparrow and Google+.

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