Jan 13, 2016 | By Benedict
3D bioprinting specialist Organovo today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Samsara Sciences, Inc., has launched commercial operations. Samsara will focus solely on the provision of 3D printed human liver cells.
Those who follow the medical 3D printing scene may be familiar the work of 3D bioprinting specialist Organovo. The company has previously collaborated with the Yale School of Medicine to develop 3D bioprinted tissues for surgical transplantation research, produced a 3D printed liver which can be used to detect the toxicity of a drug, and carried out further groundbreaking research in the field of 3D bioprinting.
Given the importance of 3D printed liver cells to internal and collaborative operations at Organovo, the company has established Samsara Sciences to take care of that aspect of the business exclusively. “Samsara’s core mission is the provision of high-quality primary human liver cells for a wide variety of in vivo and in vitro research applications,” Organovo explained in its press release.
With Organovo shares taking a dip over the last month, partially caused by a general slump in the biotechnology industry, the company will hope that the launch of Samsara will achieve its target of optimizing the supply chain and operating expenses in the area of cell sourcing. Serving as the key source of primary 3D printed human liver cells for Organovo’s preclinical safety and therapeutic tissue ventures, Samsara will also provide 3D bioprinted cells to life science customers.
The human liver contains several kinds of cells, several of which can be 3D printed, but Samsara’s operation will be limited to the creation of 3D printed hepatic stellate cells—cells which become active after liver damage. In a healthy liver, hepatic stellate cells remain dormant, in what is known as a “quiescent” state. However, when the liver is damaged, these cells activate and proliferate, causing scar tissue. The cells play a major role in the development of liver diseases such as fatty liver disease and fibrosis.
Samsara will offer customers its 3D printed hepatic stellate cells alongside a full portfolio of companion services, such as the provision of tissue sections, nucleic acids and gene expression data. In addition to these services, the newly established subsidiary will also offer human hepatocytes—cells found in the main parenchymal tissue of the liver which make up 70-85% of the liver’s mass. To safeguard the quality of these 3D printed cells, Samsara will work closely will Dr. Tatiana Kisseleva, a liver cell biology expert based at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
“The Samsara team shares a passion for cells and is dedicated to providing the high-quality, well-characterized cellular reagents that are required to support the future of biological research and tissue products," said Dr. Sharon Presnell, President of Samsara Sciences and Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Research & Development at Organovo. “Our ultimate vision is to supply a comprehensive portfolio of tissue-specific cells that are tailored for use in the production of the multi-cellular 3D tissues that are poised to change the landscape of drug discovery and regenerative medicine.”
“Cell supply and quality are critical to meeting Organovo’s goal to change the shape of medical research and practice, including our desire to create a bioprinted liver patch for transplant,” said Keith Murphy, CEO at Organovo. “I’m grateful to the team at Samsara and its key collaborators and scientific advisors for enabling us to develop this high-quality cell source, and to offer it to other researchers through Samsara’s commercial efforts.”
Organovo remains committed to producing 3D printed and engineered tissues for patient therapy and transplantation. Its 3D printed human liver cells represent a small step on the road to 3D printing functioning human organs—the ultimate aim for many researchers in the field.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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