The exVive3D Tissue system - launched last November – is made using human liver cells formed into a ‘bio-ink’ which is then 3D printed into models offered to drug developers for toxicology and other preclinical studies, but now the company behind the technology is looking at human kidney models.
San Diego-based Organovo is developing a 3D bioprinted kidney tissue which it says will have the potential to improve researchers’ ability in studying kidney function in an in vitro model.
During a conference call to discuss its FY 2015 results Tuesday, CEO Keith Murphy told investors the firm is “on track to offer an exVive3D kidney tissue by September 2016” as part of plans to grow its commercial business over the long-term.
“The first data from the kidney tissue was released on April 1 of this year and showed both excellent architecture and clear function of the kidney proximal tubular epithelial cells. We are very positive on the potential for this product and we remain on track to hit our timelines for it.”
He added that based on customer feedback, there is a tremendous demand for printed tissue which reproduces the architecture and function of a portion of the kidney proximal tubule to be offered.
For the full year, revenues were $600,000 (€530,000) though the company said it has had total bookings of approximately $2m, blaming the long sales cycles and the average time from contract to contract being 4-5 months.
In April, the company inked a deal with Merck & Co. for use of its exVive3D Liver system, and Murphy was confident more deals would come as drug developers look to replace traditional in vitro or animal models.
For toxicology studies, “95% plus of the market is using liver cells plated in two dimensions on a petri dish type of surface and our advantage there over that is that those liver cells simply don't perform like a liver,” he said.
“The fact that we make something in three dimensions with multiple cell types that starts to replicate the liver structure is why we get superior results,” he added, pointing out a number of drugs and candidates which the firm has shown to have liver toxicity issues not seen by other systems.