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Stryker Reaches Deal to Distribute 3D Systems' Surgical Modeling Tech


In a health tech environment increasingly populated with startups, 2 experienced firms are teaming up to distribute cutting-edge surgical technology.

(The VSP system in use. Photo courtesy 3D Systems)

In a health tech environment increasingly populated with startups, 2 experienced firms are teaming up to distribute cutting-edge surgical technology.

Stryker, the manufacturer of various healthcare technologies including surgical devices and robots, is partnering with 3D Systems to distribute the latter’s virtual surgical planning (VSP) technology.

The technology allows surgeons to build full, patient-personalized anatomical models of a target area prior to craniomaxillofacial surgeries. The models include guides and templates, and can be rendered with a 3D printer to allow surgeons to study a procedure before performing it.

The underlying VSP technology received 510(k) clearance from the FDA on the last day of 2012. VSP Cranial, the head-specific version of the system essential to today’s arrangement, received the same greenlight in 2016.

“With the advancement of 3D printing, combined with the surgeon's ability to use our Virtual Surgical Planning and anatomical modeling technologies, a patient's life can be forever changed,” Kevin McAlea, executive vice president and general manager of metals and healthcare at 3D Systems, said in a statement.

Stryker will have exclusive rights to distribute the technology in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. The agreement takes effect on February 1st.

In the official announcement, representatives from the 2 companies were quick to praise one another as ideal collaborators. Katie Weimer, vice president of medical devices at 3D Systems, noted a “history of achieving positive patient outcomes working with Stryker.” David Mercado, a vice president and general manager of Stryker, said the deal would help his firm “accelerate innovation in the area of personalized medicine.”

As modern as 3D Systems’ initiatives may be, the company has been around for over 30 years. It has recently acquired a series of startup 3D printing companies, like 6-year-old dental printing firm NextDent in 2017 and 5-year-old materials company BotObjects in 2015. Stryker is an even larger and older company, and 3D Systems’ technology stands to benefit from its reach.

"I am so proud to partner with a world leader in medical technologies to deliver our innovative solutions — helping surgeons change the lives of their patients," Weimer said in the statement.

Surgical simulation and modeling tech is a growing field as new developments expand the possibilities. In October, young California-based firm EchoPixel received $8.5 million in a Series A funding round. That company focuses on virtual reality-based preoperative modeling.

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