In the sounds-like-science-fiction department comes BioBots, a Philadelphia startup developing high-resolution, desktop 3D printers that generate living tissue.
“BioBots is like a 3D printer, but instead of using plastic filament to create 3D structures, it uses mixtures of biocompatible materials (like collagen) and living cells to create 3D tissues,” explains CEO Danny Cabrera. “The finished product that comes out of the BioBot is alive.”
The first-generation BioBots 1 printer can generate a dozen different cell types.
With over 120,000 patients in the United States on organ-transfer waiting lists, building replacement organs is a long-term goal for the company. For now, the printers are primarily used for research.
“Biofabrication technology is definitely becoming more and more accessible in functionality, ease of use and cost, and that is going to greatly accelerate the pace of development,” says Cabrera. “We are currently focusing on making the best research tool for our customers, taking structures out of lab note books and onto lab benches. It’s only a matter of time before those same structures start leaking out of the lab and into the clinic.”
Co-founder Ricardo Solorzano started working on printing 3D tissues — and built the first prototype — in his University of Pennsylvania dorm room. In August, he and Penn classmates Cabrera and Sohaib Hashmi launched the company. The startup initially grew at the DreamIt Health incubator and recently received funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
BiotBots is also opening a seed round of funding; actively promoting its beta program; offering testers a bioprinter and support for $5,000; and recruiting for its R&D team.
“The BioBot 1 is exciting, but it’s definitely not all we have up our sleeves,” insists Cabrera. “Look out for a radical change in a few healthcare-related industries and new industries being created by our technology.”
Source: Danny Cabrera, BioBots
Writer: Elise Vider