In Manchester, New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu led a crowd of about 300 people in a ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday, documenting the arrival of a new bioengineering company.
Standing next to Governor Sununu was Dean Kamen. The business owner of multiple companies centered around the medical tech field – who openly admits knowing very little about the science behind tissue, organ, limb rejuvenation and transplants – is best known for inventing the Segway, a two-wheel self-balancing personal transporter.
Kamen’s businesses include LukeArm (a prosthesis company), FIRST (a national high school robotics competition), Advancement Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), and now BioFabUSA, a part-public, part-private company meant to integrate multiple companies pioneering the advancements in human organ development.
Kamen and his financial backers are projected to hit economic and revolutionary scales with BioFabUSA. In 2016, ARMI was awarded $80 million over a five-year period to increase their manufacturing of human tissues and transplant organs, focusing on soldiers who sustained battle injuries. The impressive ARMI headquarters in Manchester, built after Industry and University partners contributed an additional $214 million, is designed to bring together the efforts of academics, non-profits and other companies within the medical and tech world to build and size-up the technologies needed to create human organ factories. It is a manufacturing enterprise with the sole purpose of generating new and improved biomechanical engineering, making it available to the masses.
While bio-engineering, human tissue creation, and organ development are not new, the fact that most developments are done under federal or non-profit funding and in small, mal-equipped facilities means there is a significant consumer demand. Kamen’s new project is intended to commercialize the advancements in bioengineering, making it more largely available.
ARMI staff suggests they are backed by over 80 companies from multiple sectors. However, there are still many things to be finalized and completed like memberships and developmental processes. The building currently holds numerous office spaces and several laboratories, suggesting AMRI has potential to globalize access to laboratory-made organs. If BioFabUSA proves to be successful, this could change the face of medicine and the lives of millions of people.