San Diego-based "bio-printing" company Organovo uses 3D bio-printing to create a variety of functional human tissue from human cells. Organovo was founded in 2007 with a long term goal of printing human organs and blood vessels from a patient's own cells.
Right now they haven't reached they goal yet to manufacture complete organs, but they are getting closer. One of the biggest challenges is the printing of blood vessels. Without vascularisation, organs will not survive.
Last year Organovo found a way to generate immediate revenue by setting up partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer. Because Organovo's product is so similar to human tissue, it can make human tissue samples that pharmaceutical companies could use to test experimental drugs and their potential side effects before giving the drug to human patients in clinical trials. This method can give pharmaceutical companies data about how a pharmaceutical product will affect human tissue such as the liver before expensive clinical trials start. So it will possibly save pharmaceutical companies billions of dollars.
Unlike some experimental approaches that have used ink-jet printers to deposit cells, Organovo's technology enables cells to interact with each other much the way they do in the body. They are packed tightly together and incubated, prompting them to adhere to each other and trade chemical signals.
So far, Organovo has built small pieces of tissue of cardiac muscle, lung, and blood vessels. Organovo is undertaking experiments to prove that its technology can help researchers detect drug toxicity earlier than is possible with other tests. The revenue generated from printing tissues could support them in their "3D printing complete organs" research.
Organovo just closed a private placement consisting of approximately 6.5 million units of its securities to qualified accredited investors, for total gross proceeds of $6.5 million. With this funding Organovo can extend the reach and uses of 3D bio-printing through innovation.
Photos credit: technology review
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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