3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) acquired Volumetric Biotechnologies, a Houston-based biotech company co-founded by Drs. Jordan Miller and Bagrat Grigoryan. Volumetric’s mission has from the outset been to develop the ability to manufacture human organs using bioprinting methods. Dr. Miller and his team of bioengineers and scientists have made tremendous progress in these efforts, focusing primarily on the human liver and the underlying technologies required to create these highly complex biological structures. With this acquisition, 3D Systems plans to establish a world-class research capability in Houston, Texas, a region committed to leadership in technologies related to life sciences.
Commenting on the acquisition, Dr. Jeffrey Graves, President and Chief Executive Officer of 3D Systems stated, “The addition of Dr. Miller and his exceptional team of researchers to our existing Team, led by our Chief Technology Officer for Regenerative Medicine, Chuck Hull, will dramatically expand our capabilities and capacity for the development of bioprinted human organs. Dr. Miller, who will be appointed Chief Scientist for Regenerative Medicine at 3D Systems, will supplement the rapidly advancing efforts of the 3D Systems and United Therapeutics Team focused on the manufacture of human lungs, and expand these efforts to include additional human organs and other applications within the human body. Merging our groups, with their highly complementary skill sets, is expected to accelerate attainment of our primary mission, which is to create an unlimited supply of life-saving organs for the millions of people in need of a transplant around the world.” Chuck Hull added, “The experience and passion of the Volumetric team match perfectly with 3D Systems’ regenerative medicine vision.”
Functional human organs are some of the most complex structures in the universe and reproducing them will require both extremely advanced high-resolution capabilities and the ability to print volumetrically, that is from all sides at once instead of layer by layer (like most 3D printing technologies today). These are both areas that Volumetric Biotechnologies is targeting via the USPTO registered Tessel system.
The transaction is structured as a $45 million closing payment, with up to $355 million additional opportunities linked to the attainment of significant steps in the demonstration of human applications over the next several years. These payments are all comprised of approximately half cash and half stock. If all milestones are accomplished, the total purchase price for the acquisition is $400 million. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
In commenting on the merger with 3D Systems, Dr. Miller stated, “It has always been my dream to develop the capability to manufacture fully biocompatible human organs to save the lives of millions of people in need around the world. Our work on a vertically integrated platform for the 3D printing of organ scaffolds followed by cellularization to create fully compatible human organs, dovetails perfectly with the work being done by 3D Systems and United Therapeutics. Working together, we expect to accelerate these efforts, expanding them beyond lungs to other human organs. In addition, these capabilities are expected to enable numerous additional applications for printing vascularized human tissue to address needs created by trauma or disease. I am honored to work with Chuck Hull and his team and look forward to an exciting future together.”
The ground-breaking efforts on the biotechnologies front of Drs. Miller and Grigoryan at Volumetric have been cited frequently in scientific journals and were featured on the cover of Science magazine in May of 2019, and further reported on in Forbes, Scientific American, and Fortune magazines.