Poietis: Bioprinting With Their Innovative Laser-Assisted Technology
In 2014, French startup Poietis developed a unique technology for the bioprinting of living tissue. Unlike conventional approaches to tissue engineering or extrusion bioprinting, their promising 4D laser-assisted system allows cells to be positioned in three dimensions with micrometric resolution and precision. Their aim is to design living tissue using cells and biomaterial that researchers can apply to manufacture products for regenerative medicine, preclinical research, and cosmetic uses–making a big difference in the testing of cosmetics and consumer products. This is especially relevant considering that the debate about animal research and testing is a hot topic everywhere.
In 2013, the European Union passed legislation that instituted a ban on the sale of animal-tested products in the continent, followed by other countries like India, Israel, Norway, Taiwan, and New Zealand, while the practice is being contested in the US and other markets where it is still legal. Companies like Poietis are using 3D bioprinting technology to develop a more cost-effective, versatile, and ethical way for companies to go about testing. But that’s just one of their advantages, along with the development of the multimodal bioprinting platform Next Generation Bioprinting (NGB); the creation of Poieskin, commercial bioprinted human tissue; and the NGB-C system for clinical applications.
In 2012 and after 20 years of professional experience in the biotech MedTech sector, the co-founder of Poietis, Bruno Brisson, met Fabien Guillemot (the other co-founder of the company and CEO).
Regulatory pressure everywhere to ban animal testing and concerns about animal experiments to model human health, along with the animal experiment ban for the cosmetics industry in Europe, has resulted in an evergrowing demand for in vitro alternatives. This is one of the reasons why Poeitis founders decided to first focus on in vitro applications for the skin tissue market. To do so, they hired an interdisciplinary team of physicists, software developers, biologists, and pharmacists to bring their expertise to the areas of laser and optics, microfluidics, machine learning, cell biology, and tissue engineering as well as cell therapy manufacturing. Their bioprinted in vitro models are used in dermo-cosmetics, but also in pharmaceutical research, for example, to evaluate the mechanism of actions for validating new drug candidates in the case of disease models.
The company, headquartered in Pessac, France, soon developed partnerships with other firms. In 2015, chemical giant BASF signed an agreement with Poietis to 3D print skin for cosmetic testing purposes, using the 3D laser-assisted bioprinting technology to further develop its Mimeskin tissue, which is one of the closest equivalents to the original physiological equivalents of real human skin. After their success, they moved towards improving the skin models by increasing structure complexity and adding new cell types. Almost around the same time, Poietis became associated with the L’Oréal group and began researching how to bioprint hair as a viable solution for people suffering from alopecia.
At Poietis, the core of their expertise is the high-resolution laser-assisted bioprinting, after which they have based and developed their Next-Generation Bioprinting (NGB) platform, which they claim gives tissue engineers and researchers greater freedom in the choice of biomaterials and hydrogels, and greater versatility in their research and development. The two bioprinters currently marketed are the NGB-R Bioprinter (commercialized for research applications) and the NGB-C Bioprinter (a clinical-grade, GMP-compliant system dedicated to clinical applications and challenges of industrial manufacturing of implantable tissues).
At Poietis, they talk about the process as a form of 4D printing, claiming that “the approach consists in programming self-organized tissue (cells and extracellular matrix) that evolve in a controlled way until specific biological functions emerge”. So that by analyzing tissue evolution during maturation, they are able to optimize the initial tissue architecture defined by a CAD tool in order to improve the functionality of the printed tissues and guarantee that they are manufactured in the most reliable way. The company is developing dedicated software to program tissue self-organization, which means that they will anticipate the evolution of the bioprinted construct with time. And time plays a big role in 4D bioprinting, something which makes their system quite unique.
We have talked about 4D printing before, which means creating 3D objects that change their shape over time in response to stimuli such as heat, moisture or light, making structures that easily adapt to their environment. On the hardware side, Poietis applies its laser-assisted bioprinting technique using laser pulses programmed to be sent every nanosecond, used to deposit microscopic droplets of cell-laden ink on a cartridge (composed of an ink film spread on a glass plate). Via the software, they can control the physical conditions of the ejection (like energy and viscosity), as well as the droplet volume to near picolitre accuracy. According to the company, the process can achieve 20 µm resolution at speeds of 10,000 droplets a second, resulting in cell concentrations of 100 million cells/mL and 100 percent cell viability.
The process led Poietis to develop Poieskin, a bioprinted skin made up of a human full-thickness skin model that is entirely produced by 3D bioprinting.
With a tissue engineering market worth an estimated 15 billion dollars, and growing, the bioprinting industry is getting a lot of attention, and companies all over the world are taking notice. Poietis has three patents covering its bioprinting technology, and a recent financing round of five million euros to accelerate technological developments that could lead to the first implantation of a bioprinted tissue into patients starting in 2021, and is well is on its way to becoming one of the innovative European startups to look for during the coming years.
The bioprinting technology available at Poietis is the result of innovative research, and over a ten-year time lapse at Inserm and the University of Bordeaux, resulting in wins at the iLab competition in 2014, the World Innovation Challenge Phase II in 2017, and most recently the EY Disruptive Strategy Award. But Poietis is lucky to be among a forward-looking bioprinting environment. The groundbreaking technology has seen some challenges over the last few years, and not every country has made efforts to help with its development.
via 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing https://3dprint.com
July 31, 2019 at 08:24AM