The medical AM segment is multifaceted, consisting of 3D printed medical devices, anatomical models, prosthetics and more. Within the industry, bioprinting has carved out a prominent position, gaining interest across the board for its huge potentials in drug development and screening, therapeutic treatments and regenerative medicine, to name but a few. While much of the excitement surrounding bioprinting is focused on the future—what it could do—we want to look at what is happening now in the field that is exciting.
As part of our Medical AM Focus, we asked bioprinting leaders from across the sector what they consider to be the most exciting application for their bioprinting technologies today. In this segment, we hear from Florida-based bioprinting company nScrypt.
Founded in 2002 as a spin-off of medtech company Sciperio, Orlando-based nScrypt is a boundary pushing bioprinting company, to say the least. The company, which has developed a precision microdispensing technology and direct digital manufacturing solutions, is one of a small handful of companies in the segment taking its bioprinting beyond the lab.
Last year, nScrypt partnered with the U.S. Military, the Uniformed Services University 4D Bio3 Program and The Geneva Foundation to deploy a ruggedized version of its BioAssembly Tool (BAT) bioprinter to an undisclosed desert location for point-of-care bioprinting. The ambitious project has to date resulted in the production of many medical devices printed in the field, including:
- A 3D printed scalpel handle and hemostate
- 3D bioprinted bioactive bandages made from a antibiotic-containing hydrogel layer and a 3D printed structural layer
- A 3D printed surgical model of T9 vertebrae
- A 3D bioprinted meniscus made up of live cells and a hydrogel scaffold
According to nScrypt: “This project was a step toward bringing next-generation critical care close to the warfighter, which is expected to improve healing and survival rates, reduce expensive and wasteful logistics, warehousing, refrigeration and shipping, and lead to the direct repair or replacement of damaged tissue.”
The ruggedized version of the BioAssembly Tool bioprinter was also recently commercialized. Launched as the nRugged, the system is the first and only existing bioprinting platform for precision manufacturing in harsh environments. The system consists of nScrypt’s Factory in a Tool (FIT) digital manufacturing platform encased in a protective, easily transportable box.
In addition to deploying its bioprinter into the military field, nScrypt also launched a version of its bioprinter into space, to be used aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for printing cardiac patches for damaged hearts. The space-hardened bioprinter integrates the company’s SmartPump technology which has 100 picoliter volumetric control and dispenses materials down to 10 microns.
“When dealing with something as important as tissue, it is vital to place the correct amount of material in the correct position every time,” explained Ken Church, CEO of nScrypt. “This is what our machines offer and what has contributed to our success in bioprinting.”