NUI Galway and Loci Orthopaedics Collaborate on Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme

From left, Dr Noel Harrison (Mechanical Engineering), Fiona Mangan (Loci Orthopaedics) and Dr Eimear O’Hara (Mechanical Engineering) with parts from the in-house metal 3D printer in the Alice Perry Engineering Building, NUI Galway.
Feb 04 2020 Posted: 09:46 GMT

NUI Galway and Loci Orthopaedics Ltd recently initiated an Enterprise Ireland funded Innovation Partnership Programme project. The aim of this programme is to facilitate any company in accessing the latest skills and expertise from research institutes throughout Ireland.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr Noel Harrison, Programme Director for the BE and ME Programmes in Mechanical Engineering at NUI Galway and Funded Investigator in the SFI centre I-Form, said: “Direct industry research engagement such as this, particularly with Galway’s Med-Tech global hub, is a critical feature of our activity in Mechanical Engineering. This project reflects the industrial relevance of 3D printing for our students and researchers. The state-of-the-art suite of printing capabilities in plastics, composites and metals in our Advanced Manufacturing Lab continues to attract multi-sector industry and academic collaborations for material and process optimisation and provides valuable experience for our students.”

Dr Eimear O’Hara, NUI Galway graduate in Mechanical Engineering and Research Fellow on the project said: “I’m very excited to directly work with industry on this novel medical device project utilising the unique design freedoms of metal 3D Printing and our knowledge of the printing process and materials. It is fantastic to be able to design, manufacture and test novel orthopaedics devices in-house, thus enabling local start-up company growth.”

Additive manufacturing continues to be an area of significant growth in the global healthcare technology space. The increase in the number of 3D-printed orthopaedic products along with the rise in orthopaedic complications are major growth aspects boosting the demand for 3D-printed orthopaedic implants.

Declining cost differences between 3D-printed and traditionally manufactured implants are also enabling device manufacturers to expand the applications of 3D-printed in the musculoskeletal sector.

In parallel to this, the number of 3D-printed medical devices cleared for clinical use by the FDA in the US has increased by 400% since 2014, indicating a tipping point has been reached in the acceptance of these implants by the regulators and the market.

It is estimated that the total revenue generation associated with ‘additive orthopaedics’ in 2018 amounted to over $500M worldwide. This market is expected to grow at 6% per year.

Speaking about the Innovation Partnership Programme, Loci Orthopaedics co-founder Dr Brendan Boland said: “The programme is a great opportunity to work within the Academia-Clinical-Industry model. The OsteoAnchor technology was originally developed by Dr Harrison, an international leader in the field of 3D printing for orthopaedic implants. The company now gets to work with Dr Harrison and his extensive technological knowledge to further develop this product. Loci Orthopaedics works with world-leading orthopaedic surgeons to develop evidence-based implants who can provide ongoing input into the incorporation of this technology into new implants. The company has already developed products in the area so have the expertise and extensive industry contacts that can help advance this product to market to enter into a rapidly growing and lucrative market segment.”


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