3-D printer maker Stratasys and nonprofit Jacobs Institute create medical device development center

Vascular testing model used to validate new medical devices that treat brain aneurysms, produced on the Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 3D Printer--Courtesy of the Jacobs Institute

Stratasys ($SYSS) and the Jacobs Institute are partnering to create an R&D center aimed at using 3-D printing to test and develop new medical devices. The company, which is based in Minneapolis and Israel, is aimed at making further inroads into medical applications, which haven't been a major market for 3-D printers yet.

However, 3-D printing seems poised to come of age in medical devices. There have been several recent FDA nods for 3-D printed implants from major medical device makers--and some, including orthopedics player Stryker ($SYK) that is slated to open a 3-D printing facility this year, are starting to devote substantial cash to backing up their initial interest.

"This announcement with the Jacobs Institute is an important milestone, marking the first time we are formally partnering with a medical organization to explore the exciting opportunities of 3-D printing and healthcare," said Scott Rader, General Manager of Medical Solutions at Stratasys, in a statement. "Stratasys brings decades of experience to the Jacobs Institute, a leader in 3-D printed models, to push the boundaries of how these models can be used to train the next generation of physicians, and test new devices."

The Buffalo-based Jacobs Institute (JI) was first conceptualized in 2008 as one of a trio of research groups focused on vascular innovation that also includes Kaleida Health's Gates Vascular Institute and the University at Buffalo's Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC). It's backed by Jeremy and Margaret Jacobs and was created to honor Dr. Lawrence Jacobs, who discovered the beta interferon drug, Avonex, which treats multiple sclerosis.

The partnership with Stratasys is expected to advance 3-D printing for a variety of medical applications. The resulting Center of Excellence will develop and test new medical devices by using 3-D printed prototypes. It will also produce models to improve clinical education and training. It's expected to also aid hospitals and medical research groups in their own implementation of in-house 3-D printing labs, an increasingly common phenomenon.

"By partnering with Stratasys, the Jacobs Institute is bringing the leader in 3D printing to Buffalo to work closely with the JI and its partners, Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo, to accelerate the development of new medical technologies," said Bill Maggio, CEO of the Jacobs Institute. "Working together, the respective institutions will leverage their strengths to make an impact far greater than they could make individually."

- here is the announcement