3D Systems expands the scope of application opportunities for additive manufacturing (AM) in medical and high-reliability industrial applications. The AM solutions company has decided to acquire Allevi, Inc. to strengthen its regenerative medicine activities on the one hand, and German software firm, Additive Works GmbH to increase its simulation expertise.
These investments are another important step in 3D Systems’s aggressive, four-phase initiative to reorganize, restructure, divest non-core assets, and invest for accelerated growth, which was announced in August of 2020.
Expanding Regenerative Medicine through Acquisition of Allevi
In January of this year, following three years of intense development efforts, 3D Systems announced a significant breakthrough in its regenerative medicine program, targeted toward the printing of solid human organs (e.g., lungs) through a partnership with United Therapeutics. Referencing this progress, the company also announced plans to expand its regenerative medicine efforts to capitalize on this breakthrough technology, applying it in parallel to nearer-term, non-organ human applications.
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.
To accelerate this laboratory focus, the company is pleased to announce the acquisition of Allevi, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based developer of bioprinting solutions, comprising 3D bioprinters, biomaterials (also known as bioinks), and specialized laboratory software. Founded in 2014, Allevi has established a strong technology base, brand, and distribution network for this rapidly emerging market, with a presence today in over 380 medical and pharmaceutical laboratories in more than 40 countries. As a complete solutions provider, Allevi’s business model aligns well with 3D Systems, and they are well-positioned to leverage the technology that the company has developed for in vivo applications to meet laboratory needs on an expanded scale.
This acquisition positions 3D Systems to effectively address a broad spectrum of applications in the rapidly evolving field of regenerative medicine which is projected to grow by more than 15% per year by multiple research houses, including Medgadget, Research and Markets, and Allied Market Research, and could surpass $18 billion by 2025. Through the addition of Allevi’s technologies and expertise, 3D Systems plans to develop laboratory and human applications in the near-term and medium-term, and enable the development of human organs in the long term. With these building blocks in place, and the pace of development activities toward specific, high-impact applications rapidly accelerating, the company is uniquely positioned to be a leader in this emerging medical market.
Accelerating simulation expertise through the Acquisition of Additive Works
Software that is easy to use and can rapidly optimize the printing process for new component designs is central to increasing productivity and improving the as-printed product yield and performance.
3D Systems is well aware of this necessity as it first introduced 3DXpert® in 2016. This software package addresses each step of the AM workflow from part design to post-process finishing. Building upon this software foundation, 3D Systems is pleased to announce it has signed an agreement to acquire Additive Works, subject to regulatory approval.
Since its founding in 2015, this Bremen, Germany-based software company has focused upon simulation-based optimization and automation of the AM print preparation and workflow. Using sophisticated algorithms, accessed through a user-friendly interface, Additive Works’ software allows a manufacturing engineer to rapidly determine optimum print set up, such as part orientation and support structures as well as directly adapt the process set up for effective thermal management and distortion compensation. This highly automated simulation software, which interfaces seamlessly with leading CAD systems as well as 3DXpert and other print platforms, increases productivity by reducing set-up time while improving product yield, throughput, and component performance. The result is a faster, more reliable manufacturing process, reduced part cost, and improved component performance.
Integrating Additive Works’ simulation expertise into 3D Systems’ software team will enhance the company’s AM software portfolio and innovation capacity, driving accelerated additive manufacturing adoption across the industrial and healthcare markets that the company serves. This includes Additive Works’ Amphyon for experts as well as the Amphyon plugin for CAD users – both of which will continue to be sold and supported to customers as a standalone offering.
Commenting on these two acquisitions, 3D Systems’ President and CEO, Dr. Jeffrey Graves stated, “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.”
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