29 October 2020: New medical implants will be developed following a ground-breaking €312,000 technology deal. I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, a leader in 3D metal printing, has signed a four-year agreement, with Shannon-based PBC BioMed, the medical device design and development company.

PBC BioMed designs, develops and manufactures medical devices and has a track record of science-based innovation in partnership with small, medium and global medical companies.

The project will investigate the feasibility of manufacturing magnesium-based medical implants using state-of-the art metal 3D printing and coating processes. Ultimately, the aim is to demonstrate improved implant performance while developing a novel, cost- effective, advanced manufacturing process. 

The I-Form research team will be led by Prof Nicholas Dunne and Dr Tanya Levingstone at DCU. Prof Nicholas Dunne said: “This four-year research programme is an exciting continuation of a long-term, fruitful research partnership between DCU and PBC BioMed. The advanced manufacturing expertise across the I-Form Centre will bring significant additional value to the programme. In particular, the access to expertise and cutting-edge equipment for metal 3D printing is essential to develop the next generation of these medical devices.”

Dr Tanya Levingstone said: “Metal 3D printing is a digital-first advanced manufacturing process that facilitates rapid product development and unique designs that are not possible using traditional techniques. The 3D printing of magnesium alloys is a relatively new area, but the excellent mechanical properties and biodegradability make these materials exciting candidates for improved device performance in orthopaedic applications.”

Paul Burke, Managing Partner for PBC BioMed, said: “PBC BioMed is celebrating its 10th year of partnering with companies large and small, to deliver science-based innovations in the medical device, biologic and pharmaceutical sectors. This long-term engagement with I-Form forms a critical part of our R&D product and technology roadmap process. The SFI Centre - industry engagement model allows us to access the best expertise and equipment in academic institutions. Development of our R&D platform will help drive innovation and sustainability.”