Recently, 3D bioprinting has been gaining momentum in many medicinal applications to address the need for complex scaffolds, tissues and organs suitable for transplantation and tissue modeling. For that purpose, CollPlant’s rhCollagen was modified chemically to adapt the biological molecules for printing, such that the BioInk maintains controlled fluidity during printing, and cures to form hydrogel when irradiated by light ranging from UV to visible light. The unique viscosity and shear thinning properties of the modified rhCollagen allow the flexibility to easily formulate BioInks for different printing technologies including extrusion, ink-jet, Laser Induced Forward Transfer (LIFT) and Stereolithography. The control of chemical modification in combination with illumination energy allows tight control on the physical properties of the resulting scaffolds to match natural tissues properties, from stiff cartilage to soft adipose. BioInks formulated from rhCollagen were evaluated with all major printing technologies and exhibited the required physical properties as well as excellent support for cells including a series of primary and differentiated human cells. In conclusion, rhCollagen BioInk formulations provide a superior solution for 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs.
The relevant target market for our BioInk is 3D bioprinting of organs, tissues and scaffolds for tissue repair and modeling. In the US alone, there are 900,000 deaths per year from organ impairment, while only 31,000 transplants are performed each year. The long waiting time for life saving organ transplants and the high cost of the procedures carry a heavy economic burden on the health systems. It is clear that the advent of 3D bioprinting will enable unlimited and economical access to organs around the world.
In the last decade the key components that comprise the 3D bioprinting process reached a sufficient level of maturity and enable the implementation of this technology for tissue and organ bioprinting applications. The bioprinting process flow includes the imaging and image processing of the organ, the bioprinter, the BioInk, and the bioreactor. The BioInk should be compatible with the printing technology (e.g. Extrusion, Inkjet, LIFT, and Stereolithography) and enable precise high throughput printing while maintaining high cells viability. Additionally, the BioInk should enable the compliance of the printed construct with the physical properties of the native organ or tissue.
While the R&D market for 3D bioprinting is very active in developing a wide range of organs and tissues applications, there is a trend led by several companies to commercialize this technology for certain uses. Printing of lungs, kidney, cornea and scaffolds for interbody spine fusion are good examples to these initiatives. Furthermore, tissue modeling for drugs discovery and toxicity testing is also emerging as a derivative of the 3D bioprinting technology.