A Sheffield design company is claiming a world first - 3D printing with silicon - and could receive 2m euros to bring it to market.
Fripp, based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, aims to use MRI scans to print perfect replacement body parts cheaper than off-the-shelf products, resulting in shorter operations and a better fit for patients.
Steve Roberts, co-founder and director, said the breast implant market was worth £200m worldwide - yet only six standard sizes were available.
The Picsima process could be used on a host of other parts including noses, ears and dentures. And it uses medical grade silicon which is already approved for surgery.
Steve, who established the firm with Tom Fripp, said: “I remember when Tom made the first sample and put it in my hand. I was shaking at the potential.
“Everyone who has ever seen the technology has said it is really clever.
“I was recently offered a seven-figure sum for my shares in the business, but I turned it down. I must be confident - or mad.”
Fripp has already received 50,000 euros from the European Commission to develop the idea - and it is bidding for a further 2m to commercialise the process.
The cash would see the seven-strong firm move to larger premises and hire six electronic engineers and chemists.
When established, surgeons would send data to Fripp for printing. Patent protection is set to ensure it is the only firm in the world offering the service.
Steve added: “The grant scheme is to encourage business owners to take risks. The reward for Sheffield City Region is more jobs, more tax paid and more exports.“
Fripp is applying under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 grant scheme for SMEs.
Elzbieta Bienkowska, EU commissioner for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs said: “The work of FRIPP design shows how SMEs can put Europe in the forefront of applied science. The EU’s funding for innovative small companies is there to help them do just that.”