Organovo CEO Presents Vision of Enabling Technology Bioprinting Platform
Organovo CEO Keith Murphy presented the afternoon keynote at Inside 3D Printing Santa Clara. In his presentation to several hundred attendees, Mr. Murphy described a vision of Organovo as an enabling technology bioprinting platform.
The context behind this vision is a dose of reality that 3D printing, especially bioprinting, is still in its infancy.
While bioprinting can provide unique capabilities to the pharma industry for toxicology testing and disease models, the technology is simply too complex to deploy. Instead, Organovo is working hand in hand with drug companies to develop custom bioprinting strategies and execute them.
“I compare the way we use our platform to a punchcard computing system,” said Mr. Murphy. “It’s so early, we need to be there at the site and working closely.”
Mr. Murphy stated Organovo’s value add to the pharma industry as an enabling technology that can position cells in 3D dimensions so they can have function.
The market size is interesting. There are 6,500 prevalent programs in pharma each year across all therapeutic areas, and each program needs a project run every 9 months. Mr. Murphy quantified these contracts at about $200-600K each, with a median target of $250,000.
Replacing Animal Models
Organovo sees a fundamental flaw with the industry practice of using animal models for drug discovery and disease testing. “The goal is to replace animal models,” said Mr. Murphy.
While the holy grail of bioprinting is to print human organs, this is still a long way off. Organovo’s primary work is generating small tissues, such as liver, in multi-well plates for toxicology testing and disease models. These tissues measure about 3mm in size.