$270-billion medical and consumer giant Johnson & Johnson is not a stranger when it comes to 3D printing in the medical space, having partnered with Organovo to study the viability of bioprinted human tissue for testing new medications. Now, as Johnson & Johnson Innovation kicks off a new set of partnerships with a focus on R&D and product development outside of the company, Johnson & Johnson has announced that they will be working with Carbon 3D to produce custom surgical devices.
Last year, Carbon 3D had the whole world talking about their ultra-fast Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) technology. With news outlets comparing CLIP 3D printing to “that scene in Terminator”, Carbon 3D’s technology promised layerless prints due an oxygen-permeable seal within their DLP-like 3D printing system. On top of material strength rivaling injection moulding, CLIP technology is capable of creating objects in less than 10 minutes. Their process has already been used by Ford and Legacy Effects, with Ford in particular deeming it to be more suitable for producing prototype parts. Given the disruptive potential of their technology, it’s no wonder that Johnson & Johnson chose to work with Carbon 3D over other players in the field.
As Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, announce 21 partnerships across its Consumer, Medical Devices and Pharmaceuticals sectors, the company has picked Carbon 3D to develop custom surgical devices. The press release does not go into deal about the partnership, but there are numerous examples of patient-specific, 3D printed surgical devices being created from CT or MRI scans and used to increase the predictability and efficiency of a surgery. Unlike other technologies that may 3D print these devices in a matter of hours, Carbon 3D will be able to produce them in a matter of minutes. To create such products, however, the company will likely need to implement a material approved by the FDA for surgical use.
Other partnerships and initiatives announced alongside the deal with Carbon 3D include treating infectious diseases like Chagas, developing new HIV medicines, and testing the viability of organoids for disease modeling, which pairs well with their previous study with Organovo. While, on the one hand, this demonstrates the increased use of Carbon 3D’s CLIP technology by huge corporations, it also provides evidence of Johnson & Johnson’s adoption of 3D printing for new medical applications, both of which have big implications for the future of medicine and 3D printing as a whole.