3D Systems announced its decision to significantly expand its development efforts focused on regenerative medicine and bioprinting solutions. This decision was driven by the tremendous progress made in collaboration with United Therapeutics Corporation and its organ manufacturing and transplantation-focused subsidiary, Lung Biotechnology PBC, on the development of 3D printing systems for solid-organ scaffolds. Leveraging this work as well as accomplishments with additional partners, 3D Systems intends to invest, further develop, and commercialize solutions for the diverse application opportunities in regenerative medicine, including the development of non-solid organ applications requiring biologically sustainable vasculature.
In 2020, 3D Systems and United Therapeutics achieved significant progress in the development of a next-generation additive manufacturing platform for lung scaffolds that is capable of full size, vascularized, rapid, micron-level printing. The capabilities and expertise of the respective companies in regenerative medicine have enabled 3D printing and unique material formulations, such as rhCollagen, to deliver advances in bioprinters and biomaterials for lung manufacturing.
3D Systems has built a portfolio of capabilities to address the requirements of regenerative medicine applications. The newly developed Print to Perfusion process enables 3D printing of high-resolution scaffolds that can be perfused with living cells to create tissues.
The ability to print large, vascularized, highly detailed hydrogel scaffolds at rapid speeds is opening new opportunities for a range of tissue applications. To advance these efforts, 3D Systems is expanding its high-speed Figure 4 technology through innovation tailored to bioprinting and regenerative medicine. The company believes these capabilities have the potential to enable novel laboratory testing methods to accelerate the development of new drug therapies while reducing the need for animal testing.
“Over the last years as bioprinting and regenerative medicine have evolved, we’ve seen a growing need to place cells at high-resolution in a nurturing matrix to produce complex tissues,” said Chuck Hull, co-founder, executive vice president and chief technology officer, 3D Systems. “Precise 3D printing with hydrogels, followed by perfusion of cells into the printed scaffold is the best way to achieve this, and we are thankful our work with United Therapeutics has given us the opportunity to advance and perfect this technology.”
“Our collaboration with 3D Systems has allowed us to take a first-principles approach to regenerative medicine,” said Derek Morris, associate director of engineering, Lung Biotechnology PBC. “The full size, vascularized lung scaffolds produced by 3D System’s printers allow our cellularization teams to focus on our mission to build an unlimited supply of transplantable organs.”
Building on the progress the company has made to date, 3D Systems is infusing additional resources into its regenerative medicine R&D efforts to accelerate development programs in various applications. The company intends to add additional regenerative medicine domain expertise to its team. Additionally, the company is growing its roster of partners to broaden the portfolio of solutions it offers. 3D Systems previously announced collaborations with CollPlant Biotechnologies and Antleron that expanded its capabilities in regenerative medicine.
CollPlant is the developer of proprietary recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen) BioInk technology, which is also being used in collaboration with United Therapeutics. Bringing together 3D Systems’ expertise in 3D printing and healthcare and CollPlant’s expertise in rhCollagen-based BioInks will enable joint development of tissue and scaffold bioprinting processes for third party collaborators.
Antleron co-creates, as an innovation pioneer in the field of regenerative medicine, personalized manufacturing solutions for advanced therapy applications. Antleron integrates core technologies such as 3D printing, bioreactors, and artificial intelligence with bioprocess know-how to enable disruptive manufacturing workflows that convert cells into living therapies. The 3D Systems/Antleron partnership focuses on making 3D printing an integrated part of modular and digital factory-of-the-future solutions to enable sustainable and personalized manufacturing of cell & gene therapies, vaccines, tissues, and organs.
Commenting on the future of regenerative medicine at 3D Systems, Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO, said, “The progress that Chuck Hull and his team have made over the last three years, in collaboration with the Team from United Therapeutics, has been absolutely remarkable. Through unique developments in new printer hardware, software, and biomaterials technology, they have laid the foundation needed for accelerated commercialization of bioprinting at 3D Systems. Taking a strong application focus we will now expand our commercialization efforts in this nascent industry, which we believe will experience significant growth over the next decade. We expect these efforts to bring substantial benefits to the healthcare patients in critical need, both through direct applications within the human body, as well as in accelerating the development of drug therapies in the pharmaceutical industry. We anticipate regenerative medicine to be an exciting growth driver for our healthcare business over the next decade.”