J&J and HP partner on 3-D printing for medical, consumer products

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is slated to make its case to Wall Street on its Medical Device and Consumer businesses on May 18. The conglomerate has been under pressure from investors to spin out these groups, which are vastly underperforming its Pharmaceutical segment. J&J is bent instead on salvaging them, working to restructure Medical Devices since early this year and aiming to take action on more innovative initiatives.

Part and parcel of that is its latest deal--J&J is partnering with an HP subsidiary to use 3-D printing to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce costs. First up, the partners will focus on personalization of instrumentation and software for patient-specific healthcare devices. These will be in areas such as orthopedics, eye health and consumer products. The partners said they are already working together.

Sandra Peterson, J&J group worldwide chairman

"The intersection of technology and health care is spurring innovation that will have a profound impact on patients and consumers all over the world," said J&J Group Worldwide Chairman Sandra Peterson in a statement. "Combined with advances in data mining and software, 3-D printing could enable distributed manufacturing models and patient-specific products, therapies and solutions that deliver better outcomes, better economics and improved global accessibility."

She continued, "This collaboration with HP exemplifies our commitment to harnessing new technology to improve outcomes and reduce costs across the health continuum." Peterson is slated to speak on health technology directly after J&J chairman Alex Gorsky in the upcoming, daylong business review event.

J&J has been focusing in on consumer health tech of late, so that could also be a component of its upcoming business review--offering a uniting vision, perhaps something along the lines of the "HealthTech" combination adopted by Royal Philips ($PHG) a few years ago that sought to meld its consumer and med tech businesses into a coherent whole.

This 3-D printing deal with HP is slated to span both Medical Device and Consumer businesses. J&J isn't the first major med tech player to make a big commitment to 3-D printing--orthopedics specialist Stryker ($SYK) committed to investing in a 3-D printing facility earlier this year.

"Advances in 3D printing technology have the potential to break historical paradigms of health care delivery in ways that are not feasible in traditional manufacturing processes," said President of HP 3-D printing business Stephen Nigro. "Together with Johnson & Johnson we have the potential to create opportunities and innovations in health care to improve patients' lives that neither company could develop alone."

- here's the release