Singapore has long nurtured its biotech sector through various public sector initiatives such as Biopolis, a research hub for Biomedical Sciences set up by state-owned real estate company JTC Corp. The latest government-driven initiative has now emerged adjacent to Biopolis in the form of the National University of Singapore Centre for Additive Manufacturing (or AM.NUS). The new center will also leverage NUS’ expertise from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, the Faculty of Science, the Faculty of Dentistry and the School of Design and Environment to boost the university’s capabilities in the field of AM-enabled biomedical technology.
|The National University of Singapore Centre for Additive Manufacturing (AM.NUS) was officially launched last week by the Additive Manufacturing Healthcare Summit [Photo: NAMIC]|
With an initial funding of $13.2 million from NUS, Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the center is tasked with developing customizable surgical instruments, simulators and prosthetics for educating the next generation of doctors as well as simplifying difficult clinical tasks; exploring use of AM-enabled drug formulations and individualized control of dosage/ drug release using 3D printing-enabled customized medicine; studying new bio-printing solutions to regenerate and replace damaged tissues by using advanced materials and scaffold printing techniques, combined with tissue engineering; exploring functional printing and developing ceramic and metal AM materials and processes in order to bring novel and more biocompatible implants to market; and leading educational efforts in advanced computer-aided oral surgery and surgical planning. The center will also lead research on the use of AM in dental implant design and tissue engineering.
AM.NUS consists of two laboratories – one located at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the other at the Faculty of Engineering. These facilities are equipped with the latest AM equipment, including powder-, plastics- and liquid-based printers, 3D scanners, CAD image processing and design software, as well as testing and validation facilities.
AM.NUS will work closely with industry partners to develop and transfer AM technologies for biomedical applications. In fact four industry partners have already signed collaboration Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with AM.NUS:
- Creatz3D – This local firm will partner AM.NUS to develop next-generation medical training and educational simulation.
- Dou Yee Enterprises – This mid-sized local company with manufacturing bases throughout Asia that use metal injection molding technologies will collaborate with AM.NUS to develop capability for 3D printed precision parts.
- Forefront Additive Manufacturing – This local precision engineering company will be leveraging AM.NUS’ biomedical capabilities to grow its business in the healthcare space. Forefront was established on 29 Oct 2015 by a joint venture of a consortium of precision engineering companies in Singapore and counts fused deposition modeling, direct metal laser sintering, and hybrid 3D printing + CNC among its capabilities.
- Osteopore International – This local firm specializing in AM will partner AM.NUS in the design, development and clinical trials of 3D-printed bioscaffolds for orthopedic applications.
“AM.NUS will bring together NUS technologies with industry expertise, enabling the accelerated translation of NUS technologies into innovative healthcare products and services. The Centre is already working on a total of 17 collaborative projects, and has raised about S$4.7 million ($3.5 million) in additional project funding,” said Dr. Lily Chan, CEO NUS Enterprise.