Prellis raises $10.5m to advance 3D tissue printing
San Francisco, CA-based Prellis Biologics, a biotechnology company developing technology to build human organs and tissues, announced the closure of its Series A investment round, seeing its total capital raised at $10.5m (€9.39m) after an $8.7m investment by Khosla Ventures.
Concurrently with the investment announcement, the company reported ‘major milestones’ reached in tissue engineering.
Prellis supports research and development of new treatments in various therapeutic areas with its holographic 3D printing technology, as it delivers biocompatible vascularized tissue blanks to pharmaceutical and academic markets, according to the company
As one of Prellis’ milestones, vascular tissue blanks are currently being used by scientists for research in oncology, tissue development, neurobiology, and drug testing by over 30 pharmaceutical and academic research labs, including groups at UC San Francisco, Johns Hopkins, UC Irvine, and Memorial Sloan Kettering.
According to the company, the vascular tissue blanks, “allow therapeutics to be tested in consistent and fast-to-set-up models of 3D human tissues for the first time.”
This technology enables researchers to reduce the time required for drug screening in 3D organoids by an estimated 90%, compared to other 3D cell culture technologies.
“Our vascular tissue blanks provide an oxygen and nutrient permeable environment that once seeded with cells supports 3D cell growth,” Melanie Matheu, Prellis’ CEO told Outsourcing-Pharma.
According to Matheu, cell growth in three dimensions has many advantages over conventional 2D cell culture, and serves as a better model for actual human cell behavior.
“Some of the improvements in 3D cell culture have been seen in better maintenance of primary human tissue cell types, gene expression that better replicates human tissues, and cancer cell lines show responsiveness to drugs that mimic what is seen in the patient,” Matheu told us.
Therefore, culturing and screening cancer therapies in 3D tissue culture systems provides a more accurate window into what will actually work in humans.
“So far, in our laboratory, we've only done cancer therapeutic screening, however many of our collaborators and customers are beginning to explore other 3D cell models using our vascular tissue blanks,” Matheu added.
Additionally, the organoids are fully transplantable just a few hours after the cells are added. In contrast with the pre-made tissue scaffolds, 3D organoid drug screening results can be achieved in as little as 48 hours.
Prellis’ CEO also told us that vascular tissue blanks will soon be commercially available by direct order though the company’s website.
Finally, the company is also planning to initiate its first large animal studies on organ transplantation by the end of the year, with the first tissues to be tested being engineered arterial replacements, 3-4mm in diameter.
“Arterial replacements are a natural stepping-stone to production of larger solid organs,” Matheu said in a statement, adding that the ones Prellis designed are surrounded by fine capillary beds, known to contribute to the structural integrity and engraftment of arteries after the surgical procedure.