Organovo Wants to Get Bioprinted Liver Tissue Into People

The bioprinting company says it plans a formal preclinical development program for 3-D bioprinted human liver tissue that could be transplanted into patients.

Chris Newmarker

Organovo Liver Tissue

Organovo officials within three to five years would like to submit an investigational new drug application to FDA for therapeutic bioprinted liver tissue, the San Diego-based company announced this week. 

The move comes two and a half years after Organovo started delivering 3-D bioprinted liver tissue for use in laboratory tests.

"The scientific and commercial progress we have already made with ExViveTM human liver tiissue in drug toxicity testing has given us a firm foundation upon which to build a larger tissue for transplant," Organovo CEO Keith Murphy said in a news release. "Advancing our first therapeutic tissue into preclinical development is an important milestone for Organovo, and it speaks to the power of our technology platform in addressing multiple applications, including preclinical safety, disease modeling, and tissue replacement products for surgical implantation. We believe that 3-D bioprinted tissues have an opportunity to provide options for patients who suffer from liver disorders."

The company has already seen strong results in preclinical studies with animals, which showed engraftment, vascularization, and sustained functionality of bioprinted liver tissue. The studies even showed stable detection of liver-specific proteins and metabolic enzymes.

"In our preclinical studies, we deliver a patch of functional tissue directly to the liver, which integrates well, remains on the liver and maintains functionality. We believe our tissues have the potential to extend the lives of patients on liver transplant lists, or those who do not qualify for transplants due to other factors," said Eric Michael David, MD, Organovo's chief strategy officer and executive vice president of preclinical development. 

Organovo is also studying other bioprinted tissues that might be implanted in people, but liver tissue has been moving the most quickly through the development process. 

Discover the latest about connected medical device innovation at BIOMEDevice San Jose, December 7-8, 2016.

The announcement from Organovo is but the latest in a string of major bioprinting-related stories this year:

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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[Image of 3-D bioprinted liver tissue samples courtesy of Organovo]

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