Thinking Robot Studios Inc., a privately held medtech company based in Buffalo, New York, has been granted permission to build an implant 3D printing facility. Located at Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, a reclaimed ‘smart growth’ area, 22 acres of land is to be acquired by the company. The intention is to build office and manufacturing space on the lot worth an estimated $84 million.
“By means of additive manufacturing we’ll be able to print accurate assessments and anatomical reference to knee, hips, spinal implants, out of the gate,” comments Thinking Robot CEO and partner Gregg Gellman.
“Our plans to expand are down the road, but primarily it’s patient-specific implants.”
Construction of the multi-million double-digit factory is scheduled to begin in early 2020. With it, the company expects to create around 270 high-end and entry level jobs over the next 5 years.
End-to-end implant manufacturing and delivery from a single source
Thinking Robot Studios Inc. was founded in 2011 “to create and commercialize technology for the rapid design and manufacturing of patient-specific orthopedic implants.” Currently, the company offers additive manufacturing services in several product areas: implants, medical tools, precision cutting guides and medical modeling. The company also has the ability to provide virtual surgical roadmapping for surgeons. Thinking Robot’s patient-specific implant offering is the driver of its value proposition. Among the features the company offers as part of this service is guaranteed delivery to the Operating Room in 72 hours; the composition and approval of a detailed pre-operative patent-specific surgical technique guideline; and a cost structure that remains within the current generic implant reimbursement system in the U.S.
The new site on Buffalo’s waterfront is to become a Center of Excellence for Orthopedics for the company. It will be comprised of a 75,000 sq. ft. Advanced Manufacturing & Imaging Facility, “focusing on idea to design, manufacturing to packaging, sterilization to delivery” all in a single location.
The multimillion dollar potential of medical additive manufacturing
In the field of patient-specific medical devices, Thinking Robot comes up against firece competition from the likes of DePuy Synthes and Stryker. Recently, DePuy Synthes expanded its 3D printed titanium spine implant portfolio with new additions from its Emerging Implant Technologies (EIT) acquisition. Conversely, in June 2019, Stryker announced plans to invest approximately $225.8 million in expansion of it’s R&D facilities in Ireland, a share of which would be spent on 3D printing capabilties. Thinking Robot’s 3D printed anatomical models and precision cutting guides also have services like 3D Systems’ On Demand Anatomical Modeling to contend with.
“Built on a digital platform, our solutions are rooted in unmatched expertise in patient imaging analysis, personalized surgical planning and proprietary 3D printing,” states the Thinking Robot site.
“At Thinking Robot Studios, we are passionate about reducing complexity for our customers and addressing the clinical challenges associated with orthopedic surgery.”
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Featured image shows the announcement of Thinking Robot Studios’ plans for the Buffalo waterfront site. Photo via Mark Poloncarz