Interview: Dr. Paul S D’Urso, Founder & Executive Chairman of Anatomics Pty Ltd

DrPaul S D’Urso is an Australian Neurosurgeon and the Founder & Executive Chairman of the Anatomics group of companies in Melbourne, Australia. His unique experience in research, clinical practice, teaching, commercialisation and medico-legal opinion has made him an internationally recognised Australian neurosurgeon, scientist, and innovator. Dr. D’Urso invented the technology of BioModelling with ground breaking PhD research and founded Anatomics, one of the world’s most innovative medical software & device companies in 1995. Dr. D’Urso was a fellow at the Cambridge University Neurosurgery unit and a clerk at Harvard Medical School. He has published and presented over 130 scientific papers, holds multiple international patents and has won over 30 prestigious research prizes. He will be a speaker at3DHEALS2017.

Q: What is your vision on the intersection of 3D Printing and healthcare?

A: Anatomics is developing a ‘community based personalised healthcare’ platform to unlock the potential of doctors and scientists to engage with advanced manufacturing and to innovate. The disruptive nature of 3D printing will allow hospital manufactures to provide high quality cost effective medical devices and solutions for their own communities. A ‘process orientated regulatory system’ will deliver affordable quality patient specific products and therapies.

Q: What do you specialize in? What is your passion?

A: I am a specialist neurosurgeon practicing at Epworth Richmond, the largest private hospital in Australia. I have a busy private practice caring for elective and emergency neurosurgical patients with a strong focus on minimally invasive neurosurgery. I perform up to 500 surgical procedures each year. My passion is to critically implement new technologies to improve healthcare outcomes.

Q: What inspired you to do what you do?

A: I was inspired by having the ability to ‘fix people’. To be able to see what was inside them, to be able to understand what was wrong with them, and how best to help them. To be able to practically help people and make them better.

Q: What is the biggest potential impact you see 3D printing (or bioprinting) having on the healthcare industry?

A: Anatomics pioneered the medical applications of 3D printing for 20 years and as one of the world’s most innovative patient-specific device and prosthesis manufacturers exports to over 20 countries. We have witnessed Anatomics technology helping many thousands of people suffering from the most severe and disabling conditions. The disruptive nature of 3D printing and patient specific solutions has allowed Anatomics to provide lower cost and higher quality medical devices & prosthetics. With time Anatomics is planning to establish distributed community based manufacturing to enable surgeons all over the world to design and manufacture solutions in their own communities.

·Community based personalized healthcare will revolutionize our delivery of medical devices and pharmaceuticals by enabling communities to use diagnostic information and cloud-based computing to engineer and manufacture therapies, prosthetics, orthotics, medical devices and instruments in their own communities. This will create efficiencies, cost savings and better outcomes for patients.

Q: What challenges do you see arising in implementing 3D printing (or bioprinting) in healthcare sector in the next 5 years?

A: Outdated regulatory frameworks and reimbursement for ‘off the shelf’ devices do not apply to patient specific solutions and have become dysfunctional and expensive. These complicated 20th century regulatory systems are blocking the advancement of personalized healthcare.

Multinational corporations with legacy factories, supply chains, inventory and sales forces will resist the change to community based personalized healthcare and lobby government against change.

Government and insurers are slow to understand that an intelligent manufacturing systems can produce cost effective patient specific devices of infinite complexity whilst achieving superior patient outcomes.

Q: What is the best business lesson you have learned?

A: If you want something done do it yourself.

Q: What is the biggest business risk you have taken?

A: Trusting software developers.