Medifacturing™, Next-generation Medical Devices, and Beyond: Q&A with Shri Shetty, Co-founder and CEO of Fremont-based PrinterPrezz, Inc.
There’s a new life sciences company in town that’s aiming to take the medical manufacturing world by storm. Joining Fremont’s more than 120 life sciences companies, PrinterPrezz is blending medical innovation with advanced design and manufacturing resources as they assist customers with early concept development to volume production. PrinterPrezz is leveraging Fremont’s established manufacturing history and access to world-class research hospitals as they open their new PrinterPrezz Innovation Center. We sat down with PrinterPrezz Co-founder and CEO Shri Shetty to learn more about how the company got its start, the innovative additive manufacturing technologies in use, and why the company chose Fremont as the company base.
Visit SitePrinterPrezz executive team celebrates opening of first PrinterPrezz Bay Area Innovation Center
Q: Tell us the story behind how PrinterPrezz was formed and the background of the founding partners.
PrinterPrezz has four founders — two medical doctors and two technology experts, all based here in the San Francisco Bay Area. After an industry conference, the doctors and the technologists found themselves comparing notes on how difficult it is to get one group to understand the challenges of the other. Doctors and innovation hospitals aren’t aware of all the possibilities that advanced manufacturing brings, while engineers and designers don’t always understand the needs of the medical industry. PrinterPrezz was built to address those challenges and help bring more ideas for advanced medical devices to market faster.
Q: You’ve coined the term “medifacturing™,” which reflects the blend of technologies you are employing. What does the medical implant market look like today, and what are key trends going forward?
There is a terrific opportunity now to leverage the latest in additive manufacturing and nanotechnologies to create biocompatible, patient-matched implants and medical devices. Instead of manufacturing one-off custom implants, we are focused on giving surgeons and patients better, faster options for better-fitting implants and devices. Our proprietary process flow and technologies are designed to improve device durability and reduce the chance of infection. Within orthopedics, our initial focus is the growing $5 billion spine market.
Q: You’ve championed maker education as part of your own business growth strategy. Why is teaching the next generation about additive manufacturing so important?
At PrinterPrezz, we are working with new applications of advanced technologies that in some cases haven’t been taught in classes yet. After all, there is currently no such thing as a “3D Printing degree.” It’s an exciting space to be pioneering and requires that our current and future employees are up-to-date on the latest techniques. We are happy to invest in our local area both to build our future workforce and to further spur the entrepreneurship, talent, and diversity around us.
Q: What is it about Fremont’s environment that makes sense as a location for PrinterPrezz, and how will it accommodate your anticipated growth?
First off, many of our employees are proud residents of Fremont. But beyond the convenience factor, we have big plans to expand our business even further, and basing PrinterPrezz in Fremont gives us the resources necessary to make this vision possible. Within our first six months in business, we expanded from an 8,000 square foot facility to 14,000 square feet. Looking forward, we plan to build a manufacturing facility and additional Innovation Centers. To accomplish these goals, we plan to leverage the talent, diversity, proximity to innovative startups and leading university hospitals, as well as the diverse supply chain available in Fremont.