Canadian 3D bioprinting technology company Aspect Biosystems has announced a $20 million (USD) Series A financing round to advance its technology for 3D bioprinting human tissue. The round, led by venture capital firm Radical Ventures, featured new and existing investors, including Pangaea Ventures, Pallasite Ventures, and Rhino Ventures.
Leveraging the newly raised capital, Aspect will focus on developing its multiple tissue therapeutic programs and advancing the capabilities of its 3D bioprinting platform. The company also plans to expand its workforce.
“We are thrilled to close this important institutional financing round with a group of world-class investors who believe in our bold vision,” commented Tamer Mohamed, CEO, Aspect Biosystems.
“This funding speaks to the power of our technology and strategy in addressing multiple applications in therapeutic discovery and regenerative medicine, and will allow us to accelerate internal innovation and expand our global partnerships.”
The different aspects of the microfluidic 3D bioprinting platform
Founded in 2013, Aspect Biosystems aims to enable the production of complex living tissues capable of closely replicating natural human matter on demand. The company’s platform, including its RX1 bioprinter, is powered by its microfluidic 3D bioprinting technology, which facilitates the simultaneous deposition of multiple biological materials through a microfluidic printhead.
Each printhead on the RX1 bioprinter contains multiple, microfluidic channels for the redirection of fluids or inks. This, in turn, enables the layering of multiple cell types to create 3D tissue structures. The company had previously received $1 million of support from Canadian non-profit organization Genome British Columbia to help commercialize its 3D bioprinting technique.
As well as developing its 3D bioprinting technology, the $20 million funding will also be directed towards its internal tissue therapeutic programs for regenerative medicine. The company is creating a targeted pipeline of tissue therapeutics for real-world applications in healing injury and disease, including musculoskeletal and metabolic disorders. “With our technology platform, interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers, and leading collaborators, we are developing a new wave of solutions that have the potential to transform how we heal injury and disease,” adds Mohamed.
Aspect Biosystems tissue research
The capabilities of Aspect’s 3D bioprinting platform has led to its use in a number of medical studies and research projects seeking to advance the way in which we treat and heal diseases and conditions.
Most recently, the company revealed its involvement in a $2.2 million project seeking to find new treatments for cancer. Beginning in 2019, Aspect has been working with collaborators at two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies Merck and GSK, as well as McGill University’s Goodman Cancer Research Centre in Quebec. The company’s role in the project lies in the creation of 3D bioprinted tissues that will be used by researchers to assess the efficacy of anti-cancer drugs and predict a patient’s response to treatment.
Aspect is also collaborating with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to use its bioprinting technology to study and treat brain diseases. Additionally, the company has entered into a collaborative project with Maastricht University (UM) in the Netherlands to develop viable kidney tissue for medical testing.
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Featured image shows the RX1 bioprinter. Photo via Aspect Biosystems.