If you are of have been a soldier, you have likely gained a deeper understanding of how precious — and fragile — life is. Three Army veterans with a medical background have chosen to put this experience to good use and have developed a system to create 3D printed custom implants, which can shorten and simplify surgical procedures. The validity of their effort was recognized by the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network (GPVN), which awarded their Osiris Biomed 3D start-up the $10,000 cash first prize in a Shark Tank-like contest.
Last November 6th, the non-profit veteran support organization held its Annual Veteran Entrepreneur “Shark Tank” Business Pitch at the Hub, in Philadelphia. Much like in the now hugely popular television show, five contestants were asked to pitch their business ideas to a panel of local CEOs and compete for funding. Only here, the contestants were all US military veterans and the winners presented a project which could drastically change and improve surgical procedures on and off the battlefield.
Osiris Biomed 3D was founded by CEO Theodore Gerstle, MD a United States Military Academy (USMA) graduate from 1999, COO Christopher Gerstle, Esq, and VP Nathan Gargus, MD (USMA 2000). The company has applied for a patent for single anesthetic reconstructive surgery, a software and hardware ecosystem which will use the patient’s 3D scanning and DICOMM data to produce a custom device or implant to be sterilized and surgically implanted on the operating table, in real time, all in one surgery.
Such a process, made possible by a combination of advancements in additive manufacturing technology and the use of Osiris’ proprietary software, could drastically change current surgical procedures both before, during and even after the operation. At present doctors often have to conduct more than one operation to properly evaluate the position of shape of a custom internal implant which causes higher costs, longer lead times and severely limits the overall health outcomes. The Osiris Biomed 3D model will both reduce the number of times patients have to undergo invasive surgeries and the costs for hospital and healthcare providers.
The goal for Osiris Biomed 3D is also to use their highly mobile 3D printing platform in military operations, in order to establish operating suites on the battlefield and thus reducing time to surgery for wounded soldiers and drastically decreasing inventories. “[…] we have heard from veterans all across the country offering their congratulations and support,” said Osiris Biomed 3D’s CEO Dr. Theodore Gerstle. “The response from the veteran community has been overwhelming, and we are tremendously honored and grateful to the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network for this opportunity. As veterans and health care providers we are passionate about improving patient care and providing improved solutions and better outcomes for trauma patients.”
Gerstle went on: “This prize money from the GPVN will allow us to pursue our goal of bringing our product to market. Thank you to all of America’s veterans. While my brother, Chris, and I have always known that we can never truly repay the debt we owe our veteran heroes, this outpouring of support from my fellow veterans has humbled us even further. We are extremely grateful!” he concluded.
While we often see military technologies make their way to the civilian sector, if Osiris Biomed 3D successfully makes it to the market we might be seeing a new technological application go the opposite way. Just another example of how 3D printing is disrupting the traditional order of things, to the benefit of all involved.