Jul 22, 2016 | By Benedict

Hkable Biological 3D and the county government of China’s Fengdu County have signed a cooperation agreement which will see the two parties build China’s first 3D printing factory for medical products. The factory will be located in the city of Chongqing, Southwest China.

Although still in its infancy, the 3D printed medical device industry promises to revolutionize healthcare by providing patient-specific, biodegradable, and on-demand medical devices on a mass scale. In the US, FDA guidance for 3D printed medical devices is currently being hashed out, with 85 unique 3D printed devices already cleared for medical use there. European manufacturers are making similar progress, but China and the Far East has, until now, been a little slower to join the party. Six months from now, as China’s first 3D printed medical device factory gets ready to open its doors, the most populous country in the world could be set to make significant developments in the medical 3D printing industry.

50 million yuan (7.5 million USD) is being invested in the new facility, a joint project between the Fengdu County government and Hkable Biological 3D, a joint venture between US company Hkable and Chinese biotechnology company Jintai. The medical 3D printing factory, which will be constructed in two phases, will consist of a 3D printing center, research center, data processing centers, distribution centers, and other relevant facilities, becoming the first integrated plant in China to deal exclusively with 3D printed medical products.

According to Yang Chen, Company Manager of Hkable Biological 3D, the new 3D printing factory in Chongqing will initially produce relatively simple items such as medical prostheses before developing a wider range of technologies, including 3D printed implants and stem cell bioprinting, at a later date. In addition to these areas, the factory will also produce medical equipment, conduct research on surgical planning, study the possibility of organ emulation, and more.

Since the announcement of the new facility, medical professionals in China have been playing up the possibilities of 3D printed medical technology, which include 3D printed drugs, artificial bones, and other fabrications. “3D printing helps doctors to break new ground to perform the kind surgery that could never have been imagined in the past,” said Wu Jun, chief of the Institute of Burn Research at Third Military Medical University’s Southwest Hospital. “Imagine a burn victim: after his burned area has been scanned, we could 3D print out new skin for implantation. This is a wonderful thing.”

With many patients in China currently waiting cornea, liver, and kidney transplants, scientists are hopeful that advancements in the 3D bioprinting sphere will soon result in functional, 3D printable human organs, drastically increasing the options available to patients and eliminating long waiting lists. Earlier this year, Russian researchers claimed that functional, transplantable, 3D printed human organs could become a reality within the next 15 years.

With construction expected to take around six months, the medical 3D printing factory is due commence operations in early 2017.



Posted in 3D Printing Service



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