Oxford University spin-out is OxSyBio is developing a system that fabricates tissues from both living and synthetic cells
Originating with research from laboratory of Prof Hagan Bayley in the Department of Chemistry, OxSyBio’s technology uses a combination of materials to construct three-dimensional structures in high resolution. As The Engineer reported last year, this gets around the problems commonly encountered when printing living tissue: the cells often move within printed structures and the soft scaffolding printed to support the cells can collapse on itself.
Bayley’s technique encapsulates the cells inside protective nanolitre droplets wrapped in a regular lipid coating; this increases the survival rate of individual cells and allows tissues to be built one droplet at a time to give favourable resolution.
The £10m funding in Series A financing was obtained from Woodford Investment Management and builds on an earlier £1m seed funding. Other participants in the funding round included IP Group and Parkwalk Advisers.
“The 3D printing of tissues from living cells in high-throughput formats is already proving interesting to academic and pharmaceutical research teams, with massive potential impact right across the board,” commented Moray Wright, chief executive at Parkwalk Advisers. Prof Bayley added: “This deal provides the long-term capital required to deliver our ambition of building affordable tissues for patients. The company has already made important strides in translating this technology into a real world product, and we look forward to continuing our close research collaboration.”
OxSyBio’s technology has the potential to be highly disruptive, claimed the company’s chief executive, Hadrian Green. “Biological functions are difficult to create using electrical or mechanical devices,” he explained. “This investment is testament to the power of the original ideas and the hard work of our Chief Technology Officer Sam Olof, the OxSyBio team and the founding lab to turn research into reality.”