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Ceramic 3D printing for fast, safe and cheaper production of vaccines

Release date: 28.04.2020. Oslo (Norway), Vienna (Austria) and Lisbon (Portugal).

The recent pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus shows the world the importance and the great need of vaccines that can effectively combat such diseases. However, the development of an effective vaccine involves a lot of effort and the highest safety standards. Production is therefore often slow and very expensive. The project NESSIE addresses precisely these weaknesses. NESSIE was initiated by SINTEF, a Norwegian research organization, Lithoz, world market leader in 3D printing of ceramics, and IBET, a Portuguese biopharmaceutical research centre. genIbet and Cerpotech joined the consortium bringing their expertise on manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and innovative materials, respectively. The project aims to increase the efficiency with which vaccines are produced and is already contributing to the development of novel methods to purify viruses, such as adenovirus.

Adenoviruses are excellent vectors for delivering genes or vaccine antigens to humans. Many of the successful vaccines actually use viruses to deliver the necessary elements to get immune. Such viruses are expensive to produce. Furthermore like many substances used for humans, there is extra caution with the purity and purification of these viruses is very expensive.


Using ultra-high resolution ceramic 3D printing and applying a novel design for the manufacture of chromatographic columns (the most advanced purification technology), the project will improve separation and reduce production costs. NESSIE succeeded in the production of the first chromatographic supports (see picture below) and will soon test them for adenovirus purification.

The Nessie research project shows that revolutionary technologies such as 3D printing can improve our healthcare system in a sustainable way. Already today we see the strengths of this digital technology. With the current closure and shortage of medical supplies, 3D printing has proven that local manufacturing can be more than just making prototypes. 3D printing is helping to quickly reproduce component regardless of location and without being dependent from complex supply chains in a cost-effective way.

For further information about the NESSIE project and the consortium please contact:

Dr. Martin Schwentenwein
Head of R&D, Lithoz GmbH
Phone: +43 1 9346612 


Dr. Carlos A. Grande
Senior Research Scientist
Tel: +4793207532
More information about the project can be found here:

About Lithoz
Lithoz GmbH is the global-market leader for ceramic 3D printing. Founded in 2011, the company is an innovator of solutions in additive manufacturing of high-performance ceramics. Extensive collaborations in industrial and research areas has allowed Lithoz to evolve into an industry-leading partner, supporting their customers from the adoption of ceramic additive manufacturing to scale up. Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, the company has an export share of almost 100%, more than 70 employees and, since 2017, a subsidiary in the USA. Since 2016, Lithoz has also been ISO 9001-2015 certified. 


About Ceramic Powder Technology AS (Cerpotech)
Cerpotech is specialized in the production of advanced ceramic powders for functional materials. The company was founded in Trondheim Norway in 2007 as a spin-off company from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. With our unique production process, we synthesize high quality ceramic powders tailored to specific processing requirements and end-product functionalities of our customers including many different applications possible in 3D printing. The main applications are electro-ceramics and piezoceramics, solid oxides cell materials, membranes, catalysts, battery materials etc. Our production capabilities include customized batches for R&D purposes as well as ton-scale supply of powders for industrial production. (www.cerpotech.com)


About genIBet
GenIbet Biopharmaceuticals is a Portuguese GMP Contract Development Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) founded in 2006 as a spin-off company from IBet. GenIbet offers highly specialized GMP manufacturing and development services for Cell and Gene Therapy products, Recombinant proteins, Vaccines, RNA and Live Microbial Products. GenIbet core activity is the manufacture and supply of materials for use in early stage drug development, pre-clinical studies and GMP manufacturing for clinical trials.

Our mission is to manufacture safe and reliable breakthrough products to support worldwide costumers on building the therapies of the future. We offer a unique combination of strict GMP compliance and troubleshooting/problem solving mindset which is crucial for early stage product development and believe on tailor made solutions for each specific product. (www.genibet.com)


About iBET
iBET (www.ibet.pt) is a private non-profit research-intensive organization acting as an interface between academic and private institutions while also creating and organizing autonomous knowledge and expertise. Target areas of activities are biotechnology and bioengineering applied to the development of novel therapies, including the development of vaccines, viral gene therapies, cell therapies, in-vitro 3D models of disease, protein stability and structural biology for drug design.

iBET has approximately 215 researchers and develops more than 70 R&D projects in collaboration with multiple partners from both pharma and food industries. iBET’s competencies are supported by a dynamic and multidisciplinary academic and business network which, together with its geared structure to obtain applied results, enables transferring created knowledge to the private sector booting industrial innovation thus creating value, employment and economic growth.

iBET’s infrastructure comprises 16 cutting edge laboratories, a GMP certified Analytical Services Unit and a Mass Spectrometry Unit, a Late Stage R&D and Bioproduction Unit (2000m2) and access to the GMP manufacturer Genibet (47.5% owned by iBET). iBET offer integrated solutions for Biopharmaceuticals, from R&D to phase I/II clinical trials, benefiting from privileged access to academic hospitals in Lisbon area through the coordination of iNOVA4Health programme in translational medicine (www.inova4health.com).


About Sintef
SINTEF is the largest independent non-commercial research organization in Scandinavia carrying out contract research for the industrial and public sector with the vision of "Technology for a better society". Our 2000 employees deliver applied research, innovation, technology development, knowledge and solutions for customers large and small across the world.

As an R&D partner, we contribute to value creation and increased competitiveness within the public and private sectors. We apply our multidisciplinary approach in a wide range of projects, from small test and verification projects and expertise evaluations, to multinational research programmes with several partners.



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