Canon gains Japanese distribution rights for Materialise 3-D printing medical software

The life sciences isn't a huge business for 3-D printing player Materialise ($MTLS)--but it's working to change that. Its latest move is a deal with Canon Lifecare Solutions, a subsidiary of Canon Global, which will market Materialise 3-D printing to hospitals in Japan.

The deal is specifically for Materialise's software solutions from the Mimics Innovation and Care Suites. This includes the recently launched Materialise Mimics inPrint, which is used to enable doctors to 3-D print in hospitals by connecting data from imaging systems to a range of marketed 3-D printers.

"We see incredible potential for 3D printing in medicine, a vision which we share with Canon Lifecare Solutions," said Materialise EVP Hilde Ingelaere in a statement. "By distributing our software solutions, Canon Lifecare Solutions will help accelerate our aim of helping the medical community better integrate 3D printing into their workflow and begin unleashing the benefits it offers, which include potential cost savings and patient care improvement."

For its part, Canon has recently doubled down on medical imaging--with a $6 billion commitment to buy the ailing medical imaging business of peer Toshiba. Last year, it also created a biomedical-focused subsidiary.

We "believe in working as closely as possible and as flexibly as possible with local partners in various markets in order to serve our customers," said Canon Lifecare Solutions President Koji Ishiwata. "We are proud to now count Materialise as one of these partners, and are honored to be offering software solutions from the Materialise Mimics platform to our customers to empower meaningful applications of medical 3-D printing."

Hospitals are using 3-D printing to print surgical models and guides to help surgeons prep for difficult-to-visualize surgeries or aid them in procedures. In addition, 3-D printing eventually could prove useful in custom-printing implants on-site or even in creating customized medical devices.

- here is the release