Organovo, a 3-D bioprinting company, went public 3 years ago and now boasts 65 employees and close to a $500m market capitalization. From this position, the company is making headway on a number of cell printing initiatives.
Yale School of Medicine, Department of Surgery, teamed up with Organovo this month to work toward a bioprinting technology for transplant into human patients, reports Katherine Connor in her article for The Daily Transcript. Objectives for the partnership are ambitious: a printed tissue in clinical trails within 5 years and a kidney for toxicity testing commercially available in late 2016.
“The fast-growing field of tissue engineering developed to address the shortage of tissues available for repair and transplantation,” explains Organovo in a media release announcing the collaboration with Yale.
And the cross-discipline project will allow for more nuanced results: "This collaboration is a great way to bring the best minds of both worlds to solve a major research and medical goal – using bioprinting to produce transplantable tissues," Dr. John Geibel, vice chairman, director of surgical research, and professor of surgery and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale University.
Personal care products toxicity testing is one of the top markets where 3D bioprinting technologies will have an impact, according to an IDTechEx report looking at relevant applications into 2024.
L’Oreal clearly sees the wisdom here. The cosmetics giant has been working with Organovo on 3D printed for cosmetics product testing since October of this year.
Success with tissue
In November Organovo announced “the full commercial release of the exVive3D Human Liver Tissue for preclinical drug discovery testing,” in a press announcement. This product replicates living human liver tissue right down to the cellular level and the ability to produce proteins.
Testing run on this tissue “has successfully differentiated between structurally related compounds with known toxic and non-toxic profiles in human beings…and the configuration of the bioprinted liver tissues enables both biochemical and histologic data to be collected so that a customer can investigate compound responses at multiple levels,” according to the announcement.
The quality of testing this tissue bodes well for the bioprinted skin being used by the personal care industry. Terms of the Organovo arrangement with L’Oreal aren’t public. And for now the bioprinting company is selling only tissue and such. But eventually cosmetics brands may opt to purchase biological printers for their R&D teams rather than skin cells (as a product).