Belfast medical imaging firm Axial3D finalises $15m investment round

The type of model produced by Axial3D
The type of model produced by Axial3D

BELFAST-based medical imaging technology firm Axial3D, which creates models of the human anatomy to assist surgeons in critical operations, has finalised a $15 million (£13.4m) investment round, of which $10 million (£8.9m) is coming from Stratasys in Israel, a leader in polymer 3D printing solutions.

And as a result of the partnership, the two companies will also be providing a joint offering to make patient-specific 3D printing solutions for hospitals and medical device manufacturers more accessible so it becomes a mainstream healthcare solution.

Personalised 3D printed anatomic models are used for pre-surgical planning and diagnostic use to improve patient outcomes while shortening time spent in the operating room. They are also used in education and training, and medical device development.

Axial3D was created in 2014 to create orthopaedic models that uses patients' CT and MRI scans to make individual scaled 3D models of their injuries.

Creating a 3D printed model from a patient’s scan data normally takes several hours and requires a high level of technical expertise and expensive software licenses.

But Axial3D’s artificial intelligence-powered algorithms enable healthcare providers to segment CT and MRI scans for these models without significant investments in time, specialised skills and large upfront costs.

Stratasys is a leading provider of the 3D printers, materials and software for these anatomic models, and has estimated that the opportunity for medical 3D printing globally is approximately $2.8 billion.

Its digital anatomy 3D printer enables medical customers to create models that not only accurately represent the appearance of human tissue but are also bio-mechanically realistic while suturing, cutting, or inserting and deploying medical devices.

A range of Stratasys printers and materials have been validated and FDA-cleared with Axial3D software to produce anatomic models for pre-operative surgical planning and diagnostic use across multiple specialities.

“We are proud to be partnering with Stratasys, and have always believed in their technology and, more importantly, their vision for 3D printing in healthcare,” said Axial3D chief executive Roger Johnston.

“We believe that to move the industry from early adopters to the mainstream, we need to improve the accessibility of models for healthcare so hospitals and medical device manufacturers can scale their patient-specific programs.

“Our joint offerings will be the positive, disruptive catalyst that medical 3D printing needs to address 3D printing accessibility.”

Invest NI has worked with Axial3D since its establishment in 2015 and has supported investments in R&D, skills, and export development.

Grainne McVeigh, director of advanced manufacturing & engineering at Invest NI said: “Axial3D plays a leading role in transforming how surgery is delivered throughout the world.

“We recognise the importance of the life sciences sector as a key driver of growth here, and the pivotal role companies like Axial3D play in healthcare innovation.”