Can a fallen New Hampshire mill town become the Silicon Valley of human organ manufacturing?

Over at POLITICO, I have the story of how inventor Dean Kamen is leading a $300 million push to resolve bottlenecks in the mass production of genetically-customized human tissues and organs and, he hopes, turn Manchester, New Hampshire into the “Silicon Valley of regenerative medicine.”

It’s a remarkable vision, and one backed by an $80 million Pentagon grant that’s ramping up research-and-development of the processes, manufacturing technology, 3D-printers, and process controls that would allow humans to print and grow their own replacement organs rather than wait on a transplant list. And Kamen has industry giants like Rockwell Automation on board, not to mention the entire political class of his tiny adopted state.

It’s also taking place within the Millyard, a once-all-but-abandoned 19th century brick industrial complex that was, back in its heyday, the largest textile manufacturing facility on the planet, and a physical expression of the post-Puritan dream of what a republican industrial utopia might look like, a topic I delved into in detail for this POLITICO piece a couple of years back.

When I met with him, Kamen highlighted the remarkable similarities between what Manchester is trying to do and what I wrote about Winston-Salem, North Carolina having accomplished. I’d have to agree, the parallels are pretty remarkable, right down to the focus on growing of human organs.