Shapeways, a leading global digital manufacturing platform driven by proprietary software, has entered into an agreement to become the exclusive 3D printing manufacturer for Armor Bionics, a specialist in image segmentation and 3D medical modeling. Under the terms of the agreement, Shapeways will provide Armor Bionics with certain complex 3D printer medical models that are expected to transform procedures used for pre-planning surgeries. The personalized models are developed from patient CT scans and MRIs, allowing for diagnosis, treatment, and unparalleled surgical planning and life-saving procedures. Advantages include significantly reduced time spent in the operating room, shorter recovery times for patients, and greater ability of surgeons to anticipate potential complications during a surgery.
On April 28, 2021, Shapeways entered into a definitive agreement with Galileo Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, related to a proposed business combination between Galileo and Shapeways. Upon the closing of the transaction, the combined company will be named Shapeways Holdings Inc. and is expected to remain listed on the NYSE under the new ticker symbols “SHPW” and “SHPW.WS.”
Educating patients and empowering surgeons
With a core strength in industrial design and 3D modeling, Armor Bionics specializes in developing medical models and offering biotechnology solutions—with the ultimate goal to make its technology available to any hospital in the world, whether at a world-class facility or a small clinic in a developing country.
Bruno Demuro, co-founder and CEO of Armor Bionics, is amplifying his company’s talents in the area of converting 2D scans to a 3D design while relying on Shapeways for their manufacturing expertise and global distribution.
“When we received the first model from Shapeways, it was absolutely perfect,” Demuro says. “Always being very thorough, means we measured the size of every bone to find out how accurate the first 3D printed model was. In comparison to the 3D design we had sent, it was flawless, which is essential since there is no room for error in the procedures for which the technique is used.”
Surgical pre-planning helps doctors to prevent complications
The critical nature of using 3D printed medical models becomes even more apparent when surgeons are preparing for delicate procedures like spinal surgery. Surgeons can make smaller incisions due to planning on physical models which leads to reduced bleeding and quicker recovery times. Viewing a physical 3D model of a spine, heart, or other internal organ allows doctors to plan, adjust, and practice the surgery beforehand which leads to shorter surgeries.
Dr. Christian Kreutzer, Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery at Hospital Universitario Austral and former fellow of Children's Hospital, Boston and Harvard Medical School, has worked with Armor Bionics to replicate an eight-month-old patient’s heart. While viewing the medical model, he adapted the planned surgery which helped reduce recovery time by half.
“Armor Bionics and Shapeways lets me focus on what I do best, saving children and improving their lives through surgeries. Their platform easily converts scans into physical 3D models that are to scale and guide our approach in surgical pre-planning,” says Dr. Kreutzer. “Utilizing this technology reduces time in surgery, leads to quicker recovery times, and produces more positive surgical outcomes overall.”
Shapeways provides global access
Armor Bionics realized a manufacturing partnership with Shapeways would also yield the chance to reach many geographical locations easily. Shapeways’ facilities in the US and Europe help surgeons get the medical models quickly.
“One of the greatest barriers in expanding our work with even more surgical teams was the lack of reliable facilities for 3D printing models once they were sent from Uruguay, where Armor Bionics is headquartered,” Demuro continues. “By partnering with Shapeways, surgeons can now receive 3D models anywhere, with extremely fast delivery and high model accuracy.”
Armor Bionics’ services transforms medical scans into 3D printed physical models and pairs with Shapeways capabilities for an innovative solution. “Working hand-in-hand with Armor Bionics Shapeways developed a way to perform the crucial and difficult task of converting digital scans into physical form factors that can be held, manipulated, and even used for hands-on practicing of procedures,” says Miko Levy, chief revenue officer at Shapeways. “This revolutionary service offering enables surgeons and hospitals to get physical models fast, makes surgeries more efficient, and can assist surgeons in numerous ways to help achieve the best outcome for their patients.”
The medical models are already being used by surgeons around the world, and Armor Bionics plans to pursue further expansion in the US and Europe.