Sirris has been using additive manufacturing technologies, known as “3D printing” to consumers, for nearly 25 years. Today, this research centre located in Gosselies (a hot-spot for health biotechnologies in Wallonia, Belgium) reaches another level and launches an R&D project focusing on the technology of 3D-BioPrinting.
WHAT IS BIOPRINTING?
BioPrinting is a technology derived from additive manufacturing activities that consists of printing, layer by layer in 3D, biologically relevant materials (such as cells, tissues or biodegradable biomaterials) that will accomplish one or more biological functions. This technology covers a wide range of applications from drug discovery and assays to in vitro diagnostics, cell therapy, tissue engineering as well as the production of biomolecules.
SIRRIS’ HISTORICAL EXPERTISE AND LEADERSHIP
Sirris is the collective centre of the Belgian technological industry, located in Gosselies. Its main mission is to help companies in the implementation of technological innovations. Sirris has specialized in many different expertise of which include additive manufacturing.
Thanks to the funding of FEDER* and of the Governement of Wallonia, Sirris has invested in the development of cutting-edge technologies (3D printers) and has opened a biomanufacturing platform dedicated to personalized medicine. Its 25-years of experience in 3D printing of medical instruments and tailor-made implants has allowed the center to become one of the most innovative and competitive in Europe for this research area!
BELGIUM’S VALUE CHAINS, A REAL ASSET
“We are always monitoring emerging technologies and markets with potential growth and we know that the biomedical industry is one of the most promising market for this technology. Two other aspects have motivated our decision: a real demand from the players of the sector and we have all the value chains we need, here in Belgium, to meet our objective!” says Gregory Nolens, Project Manager at Sirris.
Sirris, in collaboration with FILK (a research centre located in Germany), has decided to launch a project called “Bi4Life” which stands for BioPrinting of Biactive Bicomponent Biomaterial for LIFE science industrial products. Throughout the project, Sirris will be in charge of the development of technology (hardware adaptation, process tuning, software implementation and machine/material integration and testing) and FILK will develop the material (biological material preparation, chemical characterization, combination with synthetic material).
The project is currently supported by industrial key players (e.g. WOW Technology, Cardio 3 Biosciences, Physiol). Sirris is willing to involve companies active in cell therapy, in vitro diagnostics, drug discovery and medical device, all of which are technological areas for which Belgium (and more particularly Wallonia) has fully integrated value chains.
PROSPECTS AND POSSIBILITIES
Sirris has identified 2 promising technologies for BioPrinting and parallel applications: the Biomaterial extrusion and cells droplets deposition as well as Nanoscale 3D printing with Two-photon polymerization (2PP).
BioPrinting could allow for multiple material dispensing, the use of cells during manufacturing process, a high level of accuracy, a certain adaptability (to manufacturing environment, temperatures, clean process) as well as good mechanical-chemical-biological properties.
The extremely precise and highly accurate printing (100nm) of biomaterial is industrial and among physician’s needs. A €350K machine investment is foreseen in the framework of FEDER in order to help innovations in BioPrinting, small implants, microfluidic, diagnostic, microelectronics…
The first phase of the “Bi4Life” project will start in 2014 and will last 2 years. Sirris hopes that the milestones of these two years will generate new projects related to new BioPrinting applications. The first machine prototypes should be released in 2016, and be valorized by industrial sponsors afterwards.
The call for the Bi4Life project is still ongoing. For more information, please contact Mr. Grégory Nolens.
* FEDER or EFDR: European Regional Development Fund
Source: « Sirris se lance dans le BioPrinting »
http://www.sirris.be/newsItem.aspx?id=16914&LangType=2060 (only in the French version).
Sirris is a Belgian industrial research center established in 1949. Nowadays its 160 employees provide innovation and support technology transfer to more than 2,500 Belgian companies in the sectors of metalworking, plastics, mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering, information and communication technologies and automotive (>95% SME’s). 16 AM technologies provide capabilities in development of specific additive manufacturing technology and materials, rapid prototyping technologies and manufacturing technologies for the tool-less manufacturing of functional ceramic, plastic and metal parts and moulds for electromechanical, aerospace and medical applications. Since 20 years the ADD department tried to focus on the last generation of AM technologies to provide up-to-date solutions for the Belgian industrial partners but also for R&D projects (EU, national, regional, InterReg, …).
Mr. Grégory Nolens
M: +32 498 919 475
Mr. Carsten Engel
M: +32 498 91 94 50