Leading 3D printer OEM 3D Systems and Israeli bioprinting material developer CollPlant have announced a joint development agreement seeking to create tissue and scaffold bioprinting solutions for third party collaborators.
Through their collaboration, the two companies aim to combine their respective expertise in order to accelerate breakthroughs in the biomedical industry. This includes 3D Systems’ 3D printing technologies and healthcare expertise, and CollPlant’s proprietary recombinant human collagen (rhCollagen), a bioInk technology currently used to 3D bioprint tissues and organs.
“3D Systems is excited to work with CollPlant to develop groundbreaking bioprinted tissue and scaffold technologies,” explains Chuck Hull, co-founder, and chief technology officer, 3D Systems. “We believe 3D printing to be a key technology for regenerative medicine, and this collaboration is one of many we are entering to play an integral role in this exciting field.”
3D bioprinted soft tissue implant with vascularization channels perfused with red ink. The implant was printed using 3D Systems’ stereolithography bioprinter and BioInk that is based on CollPlant’s rhCollagen. Photo via CollPlant.
CollPlant’s proprietary bioink
With its main focus surrounding regenerative medicine, CollPlant’s proprietary development is its rhCollagen product. A 3D printable bioink, rhCollagen acts as a support material for biological matter, i.e. human stem cells. It is plant-based and harvested from genetically engineered tobacco plants.
CollPlant has taken part in a number of projects seeking to use and develop its rhCollagen material for 3D bioprinting a functional organ. Such an achievement lies decades away from being a reality, with the application of the material still in its early stages. Nevertheless, the company is laying the foundations for supporting its ambitions in the future.
In 2018, Maryland-based biotechnology firm United Therapeutics Corporation formed a licensing agreement with CollPlant to use its bio-ink technology for the development of 3D bioprinted lung models. Recently, CollPlant also announced it was testing its 3D bioprinting technology as a viable option for breast implants.
Bottles of CollPlant rhCollagen bioink. Image via CollPlant
3D Systems has also exhibited a sustained interest in the field of biotechnology and biomedicine over the years. The company has formed various partnerships within the field, including multi-year agreement with United Therapeutics Corporation to develop organs suitable for human transplants. Their collaboration is focused on regenerative medicine for human lungs. Additionally, 3D Systems has partnered with Antleron, a Belgium-based biotechnology company, to develop regenerative products for personalized patient care.
Accelerating breakthroughs in regenerative medicine
Both 3D Systems and CollPlant have now identified market demand for a comprehensive solution to produce tissues and scaffolds for regenerative medicine applications. Working together, the companies plan to create integrated 3D bioprinting solutions, consisting of 3D bioprinters and bioinks, enabling the production of tissues and scaffolds.
As part of the agreement, these ‘solutions’ will comprise a combination of 3D Systems’ 3D printers, CollPlant’s bioinks, and new formulations of rhCollagen-based bioinks jointly developed by the companies. “We strongly believe that our proven rhCollagen is the finest building block for regenerative medicine tissues and scaffolds available today,” Yehiel Tal, chief executive officer of CollPlant, adds.
“As the leading additive manufacturing printing solutions company, 3D Systems is the perfect partner for us. Together, we can offer the best combined technology for 3D bioprinting. We are honored to have established this important collaboration and we look forward to working together to advance 3D bioprinting technology to the commercial phase.”
Featured image shows 3D bioprinted soft tissue implant with vascularization channels perfused with red ink. The implant was printed using 3D Systems’ stereolithography bioprinter and BioInk that is based on CollPlant’s rhCollagen. Photo via CollPlant.