Acquisitions, Mergers & PartnershipsAM IndustryDental AM

Align Technology to acquire Cubicure

The Austrian startup’s hot lithography 3D printing technology and materials will help drive innovation in digital orthodontics

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Align Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALGN) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held Cubicure GmbH, a pioneer in direct 3D printing solutions for polymer additive manufacturing that develops, produces, and distributes innovative materials, equipment, and processes for novel 3D printing solutions.

Cubicure’s patented Hot Lithography technology uses a special heating and coating mechanism that enables the processing of highly viscous resins to produce particularly tough and temperature-resistant polymers. This high precision 3D printing process facilitates the unprecedented additive manufacturing of resilient components with an astonishing first of its kind material quality performance.

Cubicure hot lithography 3D printing technology and materials will help Align Technology drive innovation in digital orthodontics

“Align and Cubicure have worked together for many years and our successful collaboration has contributed to breakthrough technologies and innovation in direct 3D printing,” said Srini Kaza, Align senior vice president of product research and development. “The acquisition of Cubicure will not only strengthen the Align Digital Platform and our core capabilities in direct 3D printing, but their talented team, including visionary founders, engineers, and material scientists, will expand our knowledge and expertise in one of the most strategic areas of innovation over the next decade. I look forward to welcoming the entire Cubicure team to Align and continuing to extend our global leadership in digital orthodontics and 3D printing.”

For those unfamiliar with the company, Align Technology designs and manufactures the Invisalign System, one of  the best known clear aligner system in the world. The company also produces and markets the iTero intraoral scanners and services, and exocad™ CAD/CAM software. These technology building blocks enable enhanced digital orthodontic and restorative workflows to improve patient outcomes and practice efficiencies for approximately 247 thousand doctor customers and are key to accessing Align’s 500 million consumer market opportunity worldwide.

Over the past 26 years, over 15.7 million patients have been treated with the Invisalign System as the company continues driving the evolution in digital dentistry through the Align Digital Platform, it’s integrated suite of proprietary technologies and services delivered as a seamless, end-to-end solution for patients and consumers, orthodontists and GP dentists, and lab/partners.

Invisalign has explored 3D printing both for direct and indirect production of clear aligners. The company is now increasingly feeling the heat as competitors such as Smile Direct implement aggressive 3D printing strategies to accelerate production and customization capabilities. Having Cubicure as a fully internal resource will enable the company to further accelerate its R&D.

“As the pioneer and a global leader in clear aligners with the world’s largest 3D printing operations producing over 1 million custom appliances every day, Align is continuing to innovate and invest in technologies that enable the next generation of direct 3D printed products, thus creating more sustainable and efficient solutions,” said Joe Hogan, Align Technology president and CEO. “Our partnership with Cubicure began several years ago as a joint development program and has evolved over time with the potential for significant innovation in scaling our direct 3D printing processes. The agreement to acquire Cubicure is a natural next step to bring their talented team and unique cutting-edge technology in-house where they will support our long-term growth strategy by enabling us to scale our 3D printing operations to eventually direct print millions of custom appliances per day.”

The acquisition of Cubicure will strengthen Align’s existing intellectual property portfolio and know-how in direct 3D printing of appliances. Integration with Cubicure will also extend and scale Align’s printing, materials, and manufacturing capabilities for our 3D printed product portfolio.

The purchase price for the transaction will be approximately €79 million subject to customary closing adjustments and adjustments for Align’s existing ownership of capital stock of Cubicure. The acquisition is expected to close in Q4 2023 or early 2024.

As a startup, Cubicure was part of the AM Ventures, a VC fund dedicated to early-stage 3D printing startups. The team is confident that integrating Cubicure’s products will further strengthen Align’s core capabilities in direct 3D printing and will thus foster innovation in scaling direct 3D printed products for a more sustainable future.

“As pioneering investor in the field of additive manufacturing, we proudly reflect on a very successful collaboration with a great company and a remarkable visionary team. Cubicure is a great example of how research institutes can spark revolutions in AM. From the very beginning, the dedicated team formed at TU Wien clearly addressed a market need and pursued its vision with unwavering passion and persistence. Cubicure’s Hot Lithography process is capable of processing resins and pastes of very high viscosity enabling the production of high-performance polymer parts for industrial applications. Congratulations to Robert Gmeiner, Jürgen Stampfl, the Cubicure team and Align Technology on joining forces!” Said Johann Oberhofer, Managing Partner of AM Ventures.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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