Singapore has been a consistent supporter of the biotech sector through many public-sector initiatives, including Biopolis, a hub for Biomedical Sciences which was set up by a state-owned real estate company, JTC Corp. A new initiative has emerged recently in the form of the National University of Singapore Center for Additive Manufacturing (AM.NUS). This new center will leverage expertise from Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Dentistry, and School of Design and Environment in order to boost the abilities of the university when it comes to AM-enabled biomedical technology.
Funding comes courtesy of NUS, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), and Singapore’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC). The center will be tasked with developing customizable surgical simulators, instruments, and prosthetics that will be used for educating the next generation of doctors, while also simplifying some difficult clinical tasks.
The center will also explore the use of AM-enabled drug formulations, individualized control of drug release and dosages using 3D printing enabled medication, studying bioprinting solutions to replace and regenerate damaged tissues by use of scaffold printing and tissue engineering, exploration of functional printing and development of metal and ceramic AM processed and materials to lead to biocompatible implants.
They will also lead efforts in education related to advanced computer-aided surgical planning and oral surgery. They will also lead research on the use of AM in tissue engineering and dental implant design
AM.NUS has two laboratories, at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and at the Faculty of Engineering. The facilities have the most modern AM equipment, including testing and validation facilities, CAD design and image processing software, 3D scanners, and liquid/power/plastics printers.
AM.NUS will be working with many partners to transfer and develop AM technologies for the biomedical field. Four partners have signed collaboration Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the facilities. These include:
- Creatz3D – a local firm that will partner with AM.NUS to develop educational simulations and next-gen medical training.
- Dou Yee Enterprises – a local company with manufacturing bases throughout Asia using metal injection molding technologies will work with AM.NUS to develop the possibility of 3D printed precision parts.
- Forefront Additive Manufacturing – a local precision engineering company that will be using AM.NUS capabilities to grow in the healthcare space. The company was established as a joint venture of many precision engineering companies in Singapore. Capabilities of the company include hybrid 3D printing, CNC, fused deposition modeling, and direct metal laser sintering.
- Osteopore International – a local firm that specializes in AM which will partner in design, trials, and development of 3D-printed bioscaffolds used in orthopedic health care applications.
“AM.NUS will bring together NUS technologies with industry expertise, enabling the accelerated translation of NUS technologies into innovative healthcare products and services. The Centre is already working on a total of 17 collaborative projects, and has raised about S$4.7 million ($3.5 million) in additional project funding,” said Dr. Lily Chan, CEO NUS Enterprise.