The 3D printing of medical models is no longer news, it is fast becoming ubiquitous in hospitals across the developed world. The benefits of additively manufacturing replicas of bones, organs and other body parts are not up for debate, it just works. One company who have been responsible for the spread and application of medical models certainly in the UK is Axial 3D and with a significant investment its reach is set to spread.
Daniel Crawford, founder of Axial 3D has secured a £300,000 investment by Ulster University's technology and knowledge transfer company, Innovation Ulster in association with TechStart NI and a number of private angel investors from the Halo network run by the Northern Ireland Science Park. Crawford himself is an engineering graduate from Ulster University and this investment from the Northern Irish organisation comes at a time of tipping point for Axial 3D.
Daniel Crawford, Founder of Axial 3D said: "Having developed the service only one year ago, Axial 3D has gone from strength to strength. My biomedical engineering degree and previous experience working for an Ulster University spin-out specialising in medical technology, has given me a great understanding of what it takes to bring a medical product from research lab to market.
"With healthcare budgets under increasing pressure, Axial 3D can help surgeons to minimise time spent in surgery. This can decrease the risk of complications and reduce the time a patient spends in hospital, saving healthcare providers up to £5000 on postoperative care for each patient."
How Axial 3D Works
Axial 3D takes injured patients' CT and MRI scan data, and converts that data into a 3D printable model, which is then manufactured using 3D printing technology and given to the surgeon as a tool in order to plan and explain resulting surgery.
One of Axial 3D's repeat customers is Mr Jim Ballard, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, he commented: "There are significant benefits of having a scale model of a patients' injury. It provides a much better insight into how to treat patients as well as allowing us to prepare the equipment before going into surgery, greatly improving the efficacy and reducing the risk of complications."
The funding will go towards Axial 3D growing that customer base outside of the UK to Europe, Asia and US beyond.
Caroline McGoran, Head of Investment and Enterprise at Ulster University said: "Axial 3D is already working with surgeons in the Belfast and South Eastern Trust, as well in local private hospitals, who are championing the benefits of the technology. The University is committed to driving innovation and developing start-ups with both practical advice and financial support. This investment will be the launching pad the company needs to drive its growth in global markets."
Dr Sandy McKinnon, Investment Director at Techstart NI added: "Daniel and his team have built a collaboration platform that surgeons can use with minimal disruption to their current work practices and crucially have developed it to allow easy integration into current NHS IT systems so that access to the benefits of these sorts of models should soon be available to everyone."