Align Applied sciences (Nasdaq: ALGN), a dominant drive within the international clear aligners market, just lately revealed a definitive settlement to amass Vienna-based Cubicure GmbH, a forerunner in polymer additive manufacturing (AM). This acquisition, priced at roughly €79 million, goals to amplify Align’s core competencies in direct 3D printing, additional supporting its long-term progress technique.
Dental 3D Printing Context
The dental market is, in some ways, the crown of the 3D printing trade, demonstrating how completely the expertise can disrupt an trade and see widespread adoption. In accordance with the “3D Printing in Dentistry 2023: Market Research & Forecast” report from SmarTech Evaluation/Additive Manufacturing Analysis, income for dental 3D printing grew to $4 billion in 2022, representing a whopping third of your entire AM market.
Align is a very illustrative instance of the disruptive adoption of 3D printing. The corporate created a complete market phase based mostly on the creation of 3D printed molds derived from intraoral scans of sufferers’ mouths, with which it created its Invisalign braces. Now, with its first acquisition straight from the AM area, the corporate seeks to maintain forward of the multi-billion-dollar area of interest it established.
“Align and Cubicure have labored collectively for a few years and our profitable collaboration has contributed to breakthrough applied sciences and innovation in direct 3D printing,” stated Srini Kaza, Align senior vice chairman of product analysis and improvement. “The acquisition of Cubicure is not going to solely strengthen the Align Digital Platform and our core capabilities in direct 3D printing, however their gifted staff, together with visionary founders, engineers, and materials scientists, will develop our data and experience in one of the strategic areas of innovation over the subsequent decade. I look ahead to welcoming your entire Cubicure staff to Align and persevering with to increase our international management in digital orthodontics and 3D printing.”
“Because the pioneer and a world chief in clear aligners with the world’s largest 3D printing operations producing over 1 million customized home equipment every single day, Align is continuous to innovate and spend money on applied sciences that allow the subsequent technology of direct 3D printed merchandise, thus creating extra sustainable and environment friendly options,” stated Joe Hogan, Align Expertise president and CEO. “Our partnership with Cubicure started a number of years in the past as a joint improvement program and has advanced over time with the potential for vital innovation in scaling our direct 3D printing processes. The settlement to amass Cubicure is a pure subsequent step to carry their gifted staff and distinctive cutting-edge expertise in-house the place they’ll help our long-term progress technique by enabling us to scale our 3D printing operations to finally direct print hundreds of thousands of customized home equipment per day.”
Cubicure and the Subsequent Section of Dental 3D Printing
The announcement formalizes a profitable collaboration that has existed between Align and Cubicure for a number of years. This partnership initially started as a joint improvement program, aiming to unleash potential for innovation in scaling Align’s direct 3D printing processes.
Cubicure GmbH focuses on creating progressive supplies, tools, and processes for industrial 3D printing options. The corporate is famend for its patented Sizzling Lithography expertise, which employs a specialised heating and coating mechanism. This enables for the processing of extremely viscous resins to supply extraordinarily sturdy and temperature-resistant polymers. Such supplies are the important thing to the subsequent part of AM in dentistry: the direct manufacturing of dental aligners, in addition to dentures and different units.
Earlier generations of resin 3D printing expertise have been unable to course of thicker photopolymers with the properties mandatory for straight printed aligners. Nevertheless, new corporations like Inkbit and Quantica have demonstrated the flexibility to 3D print extra viscous, practical supplies. Even Stratasys has showcased the flexibility to straight 3D print dentures, whereas Graphy in Korea has begun 3D printing aligners straight. All of that is to say that Align’s pioneering technique of thermoforming aligners on 3D printed fashions could turn out to be out of date.
As a result of Cubicure supplies have been used on large-scale methods like these from Cerion, there’s the chance for mass manufacturing of direct dental aligners and different units. On the similar time, these photopolymers have been used on extraordinarily small machines, like these from UpNano, demonstrating potentialities for the medical, electronics, and army sectors.
Strengthening Align amid Trade Shifts
The acquisition of Cubicure by Align Expertise might be seen as a strategic transfer to bolster Align’s foothold within the 3D printing area, notably when contemplating the challenges confronted by the trade. Align, the market chief in clear aligner remedies, has just lately seen a decline in shipments and revenues on account of deteriorating financial circumstances affecting discretionary spending on beauty dentistry. Given this backdrop, the combination of Cubicure’s patented Sizzling Lithography expertise may provide Align a big benefit within the direct manufacturing of clear aligners.
As well as, Align’s determination to carry Cubicure in-house can also be seen as a protecting technique in opposition to elevated competitors and shifts in provider relationships. 3D Methods, a key provider to Align, has additionally indicated declining dental revenues and is going through competitors from different options adopted by Align, like these from EnvisionTEC. Subsequently, proudly owning an progressive 3D printing expertise may function a hedge in opposition to market uncertainties and provider instabilities.
Alongside the acquisition, Align additionally made headlines by saying a brand new instrument in its digital workflow: the Plan Editor in ClinCheck remedy planning software program. This innovation supplies medical doctors with better management of digital remedy planning. Moreover, Align launched the Invisalign Palatal Expander System, a cutting-edge 3D printed machine designed for each skeletal and dental arch enlargement.
The acquisition is topic to customary closing circumstances, together with changes associated to Align’s present possession of Cubicure’s capital inventory. The transaction is predicted to finalize within the fourth quarter of 2023 or early 2024. Over the previous six months, Align has seen an 11.3% enhance in share worth, outpacing the trade common progress of 9.6%.
It’s value noting that this isn’t only a huge win for Align because it strikes into the subsequent phases of dentistry and past. Neither is it solely a profitable transfer for Cubicure. The startup’s key monetary backer, AM Ventures, should even be excited by the deal, because it represents one of many agency’s most profitable exits but. To be taught extra concerning the staff’s eager imaginative and prescient, you’ll find AM Ventures on the Additive Manufacturing Methods occasion in New York February 6-8, 2024, the place the VC firm will likely be sponsoring the networking occasion.
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