One of the sectors where additive manufacturing had a rapid permeability was in the health sector. The possibility of providing a personalised response to ailments opened the doors to a new way of conceiving treatments.
We have talked about this with David Guzmán, technical manager at Osteophoenix. This is a very special interview as I have had the pleasure of working side by side with him, facing problems and challenges together. Today he is going to explain what they do and how they offer innovative solutions in the field of customised medical devices.
TSL- In a nutshell, what does Osteophoenix do?
David – It is a company that aims to develop new systems and procedures for the regeneration of organs and tissues, applying cutting-edge technology in the area of health, promoting the universal and massive use of the solutions we develop.
How do you seek to promote extensive use? Is it possible to respond to all cases?
We start from a broad base thanks to our experience, knowledge, research and use of advanced design and manufacturing tools. From there, we are able to adapt to the specific case to seek optimal surgical results, facilitating patient improvement and comprehensive functional rehabilitation.
“”We want to facilitate access to techniques with a high degree of research, with regenerative medicine and tissue engineering as fundamental pillars”.
Speaking of universalisation, in which markets are you present?
We are currently working throughout the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese markets. We have also developed clinical cases in Latin American countries such as Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile. Our main objective for 2023 is to commercialise our products in the American market.
In 2022 you celebrated the 10th anniversary of your foundation, what has been the journey to get to today?
It is indeed a long road, and one that should not be travelled alone. From the very beginning we received great support from the Basque Government and the Provincial Council of Bizkaia for our development, as we are in a sector, the health sector, which is considered strategic for the region.
The hardest part was starting up, as in addition to having to make a great effort to master the technology and develop the product, we have to obtain a series of requirements to be able to market the devices: licences, certifications, validation of the premises, means of distribution, etc. Let us not forget that we are in a highly regulated market, which is becoming increasingly so due to the demands of European regulations.
Today, looking back, we can see that it has been worth it, as we have serial and customised manufacturer’s licences, we are ISO9001 and ISO13485 certified, we have CE marking for our serial fastening devices and distribution and sales licences in the above-mentioned countries.
Pioneers in the use of additive manufacturing in healthcare
What 3D printing technologies do you have?
DMLS (Direct Metal Laser Sintering) and SLA (stereolithography).
DMLS technology allows us to manufacture any medical device, both in series and customised, from the easiest to the most complex, regardless of the geometry of the product. Since these are devices for human beings, it does not require a very large manufacturing area and that is why we can cover all the needs that you request. Speed and service play a crucial role,
What materials do you work with?
The implantable parts are made from atomised Ti6Al4V powder in DMLS technology. The validation and surgical planning models, as well as the cutting or positioning guides for the devices to be implanted, are made in SLA. Today, there is a wide variety of resins that allow us to adapt to the medical reality.
“Osteophoenix offers a service for innovative specialists who wish to apply new technologies in the veterinary field”.
What is the future of additive manufacturing in healthcare: will it become obsolete or must it evolve?
Osteophoenix is characterised by one thing, R&D. We are not a company that stands still and watches our products being marketed, no, on the contrary, we continue to work on researching new products. Additive manufacturing is here to stay, the future is in biomaterials, and we are also working on it.
Science advances not only for the benefit of people, animals can also benefit from all our developments. Additive manufacturing is also at the service of animals. Osteophoenix offers a service for innovative specialists who wish to apply new technologies in their veterinary operating theatres.
Can custom-made devices take more time and be discarded as a solution by continuing to opt for more traditional methods?
On the contrary, this technology allows us to provide an exceptional service, and with great reactivity. It should be noted that they are custom-made products, which means we can reduce operating theatre times, ease of handling for the specialist and, most importantly, reduce the patient’s recovery phase. Osteophoenix has been able to deliver within 36 hours of receiving the patient’s CT scan.
Let’s talk about the occlusive system, a device you have patented. Are occlusal barriers only conceived thanks to additive manufacturing technology?
Given the complex geometries that this type of device can have, the most advisable thing to do is to use additive manufacturing technology. Our first prototypes were made by machining and we did not achieve the results we needed, which is why we opted for 3D printing.
Images and videos via Osteophoenix