Forging new in­dus­try col­lab­o­ra­tions

BioSpectrum (Asia) - - Bio Event -

The Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore Cen­tre for Ad­di­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ing (or AM.NUS) will work closely with in­dus­try part­ners to de­velop and trans­fer AM tech­nolo­gies for biomed­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions. At the cer­e­mony, held on July 21 in Sin­ga­pore four in­dus­try part­ners signed col­lab­o­ra­tion Me­moran­dums of Un­der­stand­ing (MOUs) with AM.NUS. The MOU sign­ing cer­e­mony was wit­nessed by Am­rin Amin, Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Health.

AM.NUS will drive AM R&D in the biomed­i­cal sec­tor along the fol­low­ing key thrusts:

1) De­vel­op­ing sur­gi­cal in­stru­ments, sim­u­la­tors and pros­thet­ics – Re­searchers from the Di­vi­sion of In­dus­trial De­sign at the NUS School of De­sign and En­vi­ron­ment aim to cre­ate cus­tomis­able sur­gi­cal tools and sim­u­la­tors for ed­u­cat­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of doc­tors or sim­pli­fy­ing dif­fi­cult clin­i­cal tasks. The team will also de­sign func­tional pros­thet­ics us­ing AM tech­nol­ogy.

2) 3D Print­ing-en­abled cus­tomised medicine – Re­searchers from the Depart­ment of Phar­macy at the NUS Fac­ulty of Science are ex­plor­ing use of AMen­abled drug for­mu­la­tions and in­di­vid­u­alised con­trol of dosage/ drug re­lease.

3) Bio-print­ing for tis­sue re­pair – Sci­en­tists from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine will be study­ing new so­lu­tions to re­gen­er­ate and re­place dam­aged tis­sues by us­ing ad­vanced ma­te­ri­als and scaf­fold print­ing tech­niques, com­bined with tis­sue en­gi­neer­ing.

4) Restora­tive re­pairs and im­plants – Re­searchers from the NUS Fac­ulty of En­gi­neer­ing are ex­plor­ing func­tional print­ing and de­vel­op­ing ce­ramic and metal AM ma­te­ri­als and pro­cesses, in or­der to bring novel and more bio­com­pat­i­ble im­plants to mar­ket.

5) Oral health and cran­io­fa­cial ap­pli­ca­tions – The NUS Fac­ulty of Den­tistry will be lead­ing ed­u­ca­tional ef­forts in ad­vanced com­puter-aided oral surgery and sur­gi­cal plan­ning. The Fac­ulty will also con­duct re­search on the use of AM in den­tal im­plant de­sign and tis­sue en­gi­neer­ing.

AM.NUS con­sists of two lab­o­ra­to­ries – one lo­cated at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the other at the Fac­ulty of En­gi­neer­ing. These fa­cil­i­ties are equipped with the lat­est AM equip­ment, in­clud­ing pow­der-, plas­tics- and liq­uid- based print­ers, 3D scan­ners, CAD image pro­cess­ing and de­sign soft­ware, as well as test­ing and val­i­da­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

AM.NUS will also run AM-re­lated cour­ses for post-

grad­u­ate stu­dents, deep­en­ing the lo­cal tal­ent pool within this field. Grad­u­ates will learn and gain hand­son ex­pe­ri­ence in AM pro­cesses, ma­te­ri­als tech­nolo­gies and de­sign for AM prin­ci­ples. This will en­hance the qual­ity of cus­tomised prod­ucts and ser­vices and raise the pro­duc­tiv­ity of many in­dus­try sec­tors as a whole.

The key in­dus­try part­ners are:

1) Creatz3D – This lo­cal SME will part­ner AM.NUS to de­velop next-gen­er­a­tion med­i­cal train­ing and ed­u­ca­tional sim­u­la­tion.

2) Dou Yee En­ter­prises – This pi­o­neer­ing mid-sized lo­cal com­pany with es­tab­lished bases of man­u­fac­tur­ing in Asia, us­ing metal in­jec­tion moulding tech­nolo­gies, will col­lab­o­rate with AM.NUS to de­velop ca­pa­bil­ity for 3D printed pre­ci­sion parts.

3) Fore­front Ad­di­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ing – This lo­cal pre­ci­sion en­gi­neer­ing com­pany will be lever­ag­ing on AM.NUS’ biomed­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties to grow their busi­ness in the health­care space.

4) Os­teo­pore In­ter­na­tional – This lo­cal pi­o­neer­ing SME that spe­cialises in AM will part­ner AM.NUS in the de­sign, devel­op­ment and clin­i­cal tri­als of 3D-printed bioscaf­folds for or­thopaedic ap­pli­ca­tions.

“AM.NUS will bring to­gether NUS tech­nolo­gies with in­dus­try ex­per­tise, en­abling the ac­cel­er­ated trans­la­tion of NUS tech­nolo­gies into in­no­va­tive health­care prod­ucts and ser­vices. The Cen­tre is al­ready working on a to­tal of 17 collaborative projects, and has raised about S$4.7 mil­lion in ad­di­tional pro­ject fund­ing,” said Dr Lily Chan, CEO NUS En­ter­prise.

“Ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing (AM) is a dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy that should be em­braced by Sin­ga­pore’s man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries”, said Chang Chin Nam, Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor (Pre­ci­sion En­gi­neer­ing), EDB. “To sup­port tech­nol­ogy devel­op­ment and en­cour­age in­dus­try-wide adop­tion, Sin­ga­pore has em­barked on build­ing AM ca­pa­bil­i­ties within the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors, both in R&D and work­force train­ing. In close part­ner­ship with the Na­tional Univer­sity Health Sys­tem, AM.NUS will there­fore com­ple­ment Sin­ga­pore’s AM ef­forts in the biomed­i­cal in­dus­try.”

“As a clus­ter found­ing mem­ber, to­gether with NTU’s Sin­ga­pore Cen­tre for 3D Print­ing and SUTD’s Digital Man­u­fac­tur­ing and De­sign Re­search Cen­tre, the NUS Cen­tre for Ad­di­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ing will play a vi­tal role in NAMIC’s trans­la­tional re­search and in­dus­try adop­tion ef­forts, fur­ther strength­en­ing Sin­ga­pore’s ef­forts to be­come a global 3D print­ing tech­nol­ogy hub. As the in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion of 3D print­ing gains mo­men­tum, our goal is help the sec­tor achieve bet­ter pa­tient out­comes, ad­dress­ing the needs of our bio-med­i­cal and pa­tient community with cost-ef­fec­tive and per­son­alised health­care so­lu­tions,” said Dr Ho Chaw Sing, Manag­ing Direc­tor NAMIC.

In his speech Am­rin Amin said “Sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies and in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy through the years have played sig­nif­i­cant roles in ad­vanc­ing medicine and im­prov­ing health­care, which have ul­ti­mately con­trib­uted to re­duced mor­tal­ity and mor­bid­ity of pa­tients. In this light, the emerg­ing process of ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing, or what is com­monly known as 3D print­ing, has drawn much interest and an­tic­i­pa­tion for its pos­si­bil­i­ties in bring­ing bet­ter health out­comes and value to pa­tients.”

In health­care, the last 20 years were ar­guably the most thrilling pe­riod for 3D print­ing, when the first 3D-printed or­gans were im­planted in hu­mans. More re­cently, sci­en­tists have also dis­cov­ered that, in the­ory, blood ves­sels, skin and even em­bry­onic stem cells could be 3D printed.

In main­stream man­u­fac­tur­ing, 3D print­ing has had most suc­cess with pros­thet­ics, den­tal work and hear­ing aids which can all be made from plas­tic or pli­able ma­te­ri­als, and of­ten re­quire to be cus­tomised to meet pa­tients’ needs. “This has also been achieved by our re­searchers from Na­tional Den­tal Cen­tre Sin­ga­pore and Nanyang Tech­no­log­i­cal Univer­sity, who de­vel­oped a 3D printed scaf­fold to grow bone for plac­ing den­tal im­plants af­ter a tooth has been ex­tracted. With this, the need for painful bone graft­ing from other parts of the pa­tient’s body is avoided,” Am­rin Amin said.

For con­tin­ued in­no­va­tion and adop­tion of 3D print­ing, col­lab­o­ra­tions with dif­fer­ent sec­tors are nec­es­sary. Since its for­ma­tion in 2015, the Na­tional Ad­di­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ing In­no­va­tion Clus­ter (NAMIC) has ac­tively en­gaged more than 500 com­pa­nies and in­sti­tu­tions lo­cally and glob­ally.

Like­wise, the new NUS Cen­tre for Ad­di­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ing (AM.NUS) aims to serve a wide spec­trum of in­dus­try players, in­clud­ing SMEs and MNCs. The Cen­tre will ap­ply ground-break­ing ad­di­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy, in par­tic­u­lar within the biomed­i­cal and health­care fields. Today’s sign­ing of the Me­moran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU) be­tween AM.NUS and its in­dus­try part­ners will help ac­cel­er­ate the adop­tion of 3D print­ing in the lo­cal in­dus­try. AM.NUS’ spe­cific fo­cus on health­care ap­pli­ca­tions fur­ther aims to bring the lat­est in in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy to clin­i­cians, with the aim of im­prov­ing pa­tient out­comes. Im­por­tantly, the col­lab­o­ra­tion will bring to­gether in­dus­try, clin­i­cians, hos­pi­tals, engi­neers and de­sign­ers to tackle com­plex health­care is­sues.

Am­rin Amin said “I wish NAMIC, AM.NUS and in­dus­try part­ners con­tin­ued suc­cess in ad­vanc­ing the field of 3D print­ing and pro­mot­ing its adop­tion in lo­cal en­ter­prises. We look for­ward to the de­vel­op­ments of 3D print­ing in health­care and the ex­cit­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties in meet­ing pa­tients’ needs.”

Dig­ni­taries wit­ness­ing the sign­ing of MoU be­tween Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore Cen­tre for Ad­di­tive Man­u­fac­tur­ing (AM.NUS) and in­dus­try part­ners on July 21 in Sin­ga­pore.

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