Tag Archives: Inside 3D Printing San Jose

Bioprinting is a Multi-Billion Dollar Pharma Opportunity for 3D Printing

Organovo CEO Sheds Light on its Breakthrough Bioprinting Technology and Roadmap Ahead

One of the most exciting and promising applications of 3D printing is bioprinting, the ability to manufacture living human tissue and possibly organs. And one of the most exciting companies in this field is Organovo.

Organovo (NYSE MKT: ONVO) designs and creates functional, three-dimensional human tissues for medical research and therapeutic applications. The Company collaborates with pharmaceutical and academic partners to develop human biological disease models in three dimensions. These 3D human tissues have the potential to accelerate the drug discovery process, enabling treatments to be developed faster and at lower cost.

Keith Murphy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Organovo, spoke last week at the Inside 3D Printing conference in San Jose, CA.

Keith Murphy Organovo Keynote

Organovo’s NovoGen Bioprinting is based on a scaffold-free bioprinting process. The cellular “bio-ink” is supported architecturally by hydrogel. The hydrogel can later be removed, leaving only the 3D cellular strcture. The system allows deposition of any structure.

“It enables the creation of tissue that is 100% cellular,” said Murphy during his keynote at the 3D printing conference.

Mr. Murphy shared several applications of his company’s bioprinting technology as well as his future roadmap. The key applications are:

  • Vascular bioprinting
  • Tissue patching
  • Drug discovery with incredible savings for Pharma R&D

Creating Human Arteries and Living Tissue with 3D Printing

Organovo has been able to create simulated human arteries that are developed outside of the body using vascular bioprinting. They are viable tissue with layered architecture. These arteries are able to withstand 6 times the normal blood pressure and therefore may be implantable in the human body.

Consider patients who experience trauma or disease and need arterial transplants. 3D printed arteries could be game-changing for this class of surgeries.

With similar technology, Organovo can create living tissue, such as heart tissue, that can be implanted during surgery and thrive with the existing tissue. “We can build tissues that are significant larger than any other approach,” said Mr. Murphy. Before bioprinting full organs can be commericalized, which Murphy hinted may be in the future, simple tissue can be generated and stitched into the body.

Organovo Pink Sheets Secondary 3D Printing

How Bioprinting Can Save Big Pharma Billions

Over the last 15 years, the cost of Pharma R&D has dramatically increased from $15 to $50 billion per year, and yet the number of FDA approvals has remained constant if not declined. See the chart below for a visualization of new molecular entities (NMEs) vs total R&D spend per year.

Bioprinting FDA Approvals R&D Cost

(Source: Discover Management Solutions)

Mr. Murphy knows from his personal experience of working at Amgen for 10 years how much money can go into the development and testing of a potential blockbuster drug only to be rejected during human trials. Some Big Pharma companies spend upwards of $1 billion per drug before final FDA approval. Therefore, the best practice is to speed through animal trials as fast and with as little cost as possible, because the real learning comes during human trials.

This rising R&D cost creates a massive opportunity for bioprinting to give Pharma companies an opportunity to get pre-clinical data on how a drug will work in a human system before even starting animal trials.

This is a multi-billion dollar opportunity.

Organovo creates human cells, for example liver cells, that are deposited and developed into tissue. A disease can be introduced to that tissue in a controlled fashion, and then a variety of independent therapies can be applied. This means that you can outright reject or move along potential drug therapies in a matter of weeks rather than years. Just imagine the hundreds of millions of dollars in savings per blockbuster drug.

Watch the video below for to see Organovo’s process in detail.

The technique of testing therapies on human cells is not new, but Organovo’s approach using 3D printing to generate living tissue is the breakthrough. Organovo’s tissue can live up to 30 days.

“The old rule of thumb in tissue engineering is that you can’t more than 250 microns away from the surface because the cells will die from lack of oxygen,” explained Mr. Murphy, “but we can get to a millimeter by building a capillary structure, getting growth of microvascular networks.

This achievement results in nuanced improvements over what one can get in animal models.

The key applications are Pharma drug discovery and toxicology testing.

Organovo’s Future

Today, Organovo is a public company with a $430 million market cap. But in the next few years, the company could revolutionize drug discovery and tissue therapies.

Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo, shared his outlook on the company’s future milestones:

  • Development and launch of 3D Liver
    • Scientific proof of concept – April 2013
    • Functional validation: testing against known drugs – December 2013
    • Delivery to KOLs: alpha and beta testing – April 2014
    • Product launch – December 2014
  • Follow on cell assay product launches
  • Multiple additional pharma partnerships
  • Developed disease models
    • Cancer model readouts over 12-24 months: kidney, others
  • Therapeutic tissue proof of concept and path to clinical


Related stories:


Want to learn more about the evolution of bioprinting? Check out the infographic below, entitled Printing the Human Body.

Infographic Bio 3D Printing

Watch the Top 3D Printing Exhibits at Inside 3D Printing San Jose (Video)

Inside 3D Printing Expo Guitar

We are having a great time at the Inside 3D Printing conference in San Jose. To share with you, our readers, what we’re seeing here, we asked the top exhibitors at the conference to give us a quick demo of their products.

Here we showcase the exhibits at Inside 3D Printing conference and expo in San Jose 2013, featuring 3D Systems, Stratasys, Afinia, Sculpteo, Leonar3Do, FATHOM, Mcor, Made In Space, Solid Concepts, Zip-Bit, Sixense, NRI, and more.

10 Principles of 3D Printing – Presentation by Melba Kurman

Industry Analyst Presents Key Principles of 3D Printing

Melba Kurman is a former Microsoft product manager turned author and technology analyst who has been writing about 3D printing for the last 3 years. She co-authored Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing with Cornell professor Hod Lipson, which was published earlier this year.

At the Inside 3D Printing conference in San Jose, Ms. Kurman delivered a presentation called The 10 Principles of 3D Printing.

Melba Kurman Principles of 3D Printing

The overall theme of the talk is that 3D printing is an ecosystem that is disruptive to the limits of design, but not a technology that is going to take away jobs. Rather, 3D printing is going to open up the doors for revolutionizing design and manufacturing by making complexity free.

Below are the 10 Principles of 3D Printing by Melba Kurman:

1. One 3D printer makes many shapes - Just upload a file and the 3D printer will take over. The 3D printer can print whatever is defined by the file, in contrast to single-purpose machines of the industrial revolution era.

2. Small footprint manufacturing – Home 3D printers are small enough to sit on a desk but advanced enough to create truly functional objects. It doesn’t take a 3D printer the size of a showing printing an airplane wing with a small 3d printer
a man carrying the cube

3. No lead time from design to product – It used to take weeks for each step in the design and manufacturing process. Now just upload and 3D print.

4. Skill lies in the design, not the operator – While it’s still a skilled craft to 3D model and design, 3D printing now works with the push of a button. This ease of reproduction also comes with risks, such as 3D printed guns and IP infringement.

5. Less waste – The original trade name for 3D printing is “additive manufacturing,” because objects are created layer by layer rather than subtractive methods like milling. This process means that there is less waste as a by-product of production.

6. No assembly required – 3D printed objects are made in one single piece, even intricate designs with moving parts. This leads to more elegant products that are sturdier while relying less on an expansive supply chain and assembly.

3D printed bike chain Objet

7. Infinite blends of materials – New materials for 3D printing continue to become available, and even blending materials is now possible.

8. Duplicate, edit and copy physical objects – With advancements in 3D scanning technology like the MakerBot Digitizer, physical objects can be digitally captured and reproduced, physical copy-paste.

9. Unlimited design space – Traditional design constraints do not apply in 3D printing. Take for example, the 3D printed titanium jaw used as a personalized implant on a patient, or “biomimickry” art that takes inspiration from nature.

Dr. Ivo Lambrichts Displays 3D Printed Jaw

10. Manufacturing complexity is free – Historically, cost is correlated to complexity; more complex objects are more expensive. But with 3D printing, a complex structure (like the one pictured below) is equivalent in cost to physical block of material of the same volume. This has profound implications on pricing and the cost of personalization.

Melba Kurman Complexity is Free


The Future of Retail is Personalization – Isaac Katz on 3D Printing

3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the retail industry – Isaac Katz, Electronic Art Boutique

Today’s retail world is one-size-fits-all, said Isaac Katz at the Inside 3D Printing show in San Jose, whereas tomorrow is all-for-one.

Isaac Katz is a pioneer in simulation-based design and in its application to create physical products via 3D printing technology. He presented at Inside 3D Printing San Jose about The Future of Retail. (Related: Isaac Katz also presented at Inside 3D Printing Chicago earlier this year)

In Mr. Katz’s store of the future, personalization makes the difference. Today’s retailers allow consumers to customize aspects like size and color, but tomorrow’s retailers can employ 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies to get the perfect fit and the shape and design the consumer prefers.

Clothing is a simple example of this. Instead of picking a dress off the rack, consumers at the store of the future will be able to look in a virtual mirror to try on and personalize a dress.

Isaac Katz Store of the Future

Below is a 3D printed dress worn by Dita Von Teese.

3D Printed Fashion Dita Von Teese


How long until we get to this Future of Retail?

The design technology is available today, said Katz, and 3D printing will likely get there in the coming years. 3D printed cloth has been developed but needs more time to be ready for retail.

Mr. Katz pointed to 3-Sweep, an amazing technology we covered last week, as an example of a design technology that could be incorporated into the retail process. (Related: Take a Photo, Get a 3D Model – This Could Change 3D Printing Design)


Inventor of 3D Printing Scott Crump: “My Dreams Started in a Garage”

Inside 3D Printing Conference Kicks Off in San Jose

Alan Meckler, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of WebMediaBrands, welcomed the packed crowd to the Inside 3D Printing San Jose. “3D printing is not a device, but an ecosystem,” Meckler said, preparing the audience for 2 days of 3D printing experts from across the value chain.

Conference attendees have come from 38 states and 10 countries are represented, Meckler said.

This success is leading Meckler to continue his 3D printing conference world tour in Singapore, Seoul and Shenzhen over the next year. (Related: read our recap from Inside 3D Printing Chicago)

Alan Meckler Inside 3D Printing San Jose

Keynote by inventor of FDM, Scott Crump

Cornell professor Hod Lipson introduced Stratays’ co-founder S. Scott Crump, giving Mr. Crump credit for not only inventing key technology in 3D printing, but also seeing it through to build one of the biggest 3D printing companies in the industry.

Mr. Crump shared his personal story of inventing FDM (fused deposition modeling) in his garage with his wife Lisa in 1988, 25 years ago. His journey was initially a personal one. He wanted to create a toy froggy for his 2-year-old daughter. But he also had a broader vision of giving engineers the capability to create a physical object from a CAD file.

In 1992, Mr. Crump created the first operational 3D printer. He raised funding, developed a facility, and launched his company Stratasys.

Scott Crump Stratasys

Mr. Crump shared details about the scale of Stratasys. The company now has 24 different 3D printers, ranging from those designed for the home to prototyping to full production, and collectively those 3D printers use over 120 different output materials. These 3D printers range from $2,000 to over $600,000. Stratasys is always innovating, with over 560 patents pending or granted.

Stratasys, now combined with MakerBot, has sold over 50,000 3D printers (25,000 sold by MakerBot), and generated over $360 million in revenue last year.

Making a Difference

Perhaps the most passionate part of the presentation was Mr. Crump’s examples of how 3D printing is making a difference.

He shared the story of Emma, a toddler who was fitted with 3D printed magic arms to address a rare condition she was born with called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. 3D printing literally gave Emma a second chance at life. (Related: read our article about Emma’s story)

Emma Magic Arms 3D Printing

In the long run, Mr. Crump said, everyone can benefit from 3D printing, whether you’re an engineer, jeweler, or investor. “My dreams started in the garage, where will yours start?” he concluded.