Belfast healthcare start-up funding tops £500k for 3D-printing tech

5 Apr 2017

3D printing. Image: FabrikaSimf/Shutterstock

Axial3D, a Belfast-based company that is 3D-printing anatomical models for the healthcare industry, has secured £530,000 in seed funding.

Investment is continuing to pour into immensely niche areas of medtech, with Northern Ireland’s Axial3D the latest in a long line of start-ups to benefit.

Techstart NI’s involvement in the company has grown through a new seed round, with its £250,000 investment making up almost half of Axial3D’s £530,000 seed funding to date.

From left: Axial3D’s board members Dr Sandy McKinnon, Patrick Hurst and Wesley Hanson. Image: Axial3D

From left: Axial3D’s board members Dr Sandy McKinnon, Patrick Hurst and Wesley Hanson. Image: Axial3D


The firm plans to heavily invest in further development of Axial3D Insight, a workflow solution that facilitates efficient access to 3D-printed, patient-specific, anatomical models for surgical planning.

The company has experienced a global increase in demand for these 3D-printed models, which are typically used to better understand the pathology, facilitate preoperative planning and improve the surgical outcome for patients.

The models allow consultants to develop new surgical techniques, trial novel procedures and perform general tests in a risk-free environment.

Axial3D enticed Patrick Hurst to invest and become chairperson of the company, with his history in 3D printing a key attraction to the project.

“Three things compelled me to become involved with Axial3D: the calibre of the team, the pedigree of its 3D-printing technology and services, and its exceptional commitment to client delivery,” he said.

“I firmly believe that Axial3D is set to disrupt the 3D-printing landscape, creating opportunities to revolutionise patient care. I’m looking forward to working with the team and seeing this service rolled out globally.”

Boom time

The medtech industry is booming in 2017. Keltie, a major group of European patent, trademark and design attorneys, has announced the opening of its first office outside the UK in Galway.

In March, Grail, a US start-up developing a screening test for cancer, secured $900m in Series B funding, with a target of $1bn likely to follow soon.

And it’s not just the massive financial figures that should catch the eye, but the investors, too: Amazon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, McKesson Ventures, Merck, Tencent Holdings and Varian Medical Systems are now involved, joining Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

Freenome, a company working on a similar service, raised $65m only a week earlier. Elsewhere, Atlantic Therapeutics raised €15m in funding through Seroba Lifesciences and Earlybird Venture Capital, as well as loan capital from Silicon Valley Bank.

February saw OncoMark, a UCD-based start-up looking at cancer treatment, raise €2.1m to help prepare its innovative breast cancer diagnostic test for a 2018 release.

Finally, Orreco, a sports and data science company based in Ireland, also raised $2m in funding through Silicon Valley-based firm True Ventures.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic