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Finland-based 3D bioprinting start-up Brinter has revealed that it has received €1.2 million worth of investment.
Raised via a seed funding round led by early-stage VC firm Innovestor, the capital is set to be used as a means of expanding the company’s operations, allowing it to more easily address the U.S. and European medical markets with its modular 3D bioprinter, which it says could have future organ fabrication applications.
“Bioprinting can rapidly unlock the opportunities behind long-running but unrealised science and research, and plays a key role in pushing the frontier of medical science,” said Tomi Kalpio, CEO of Brinter. “This will result in an improved quality of life for patients through the expansion of more personalised treatment and the ongoing development of bioprinted ‘spare parts’ that can save lives.”
“We are excited to have the backing of Innovestor, who can help us accelerate the development of our operational capabilities and scale in new geographies.”
Brinter’s bioprinting technology
Based in the Finnish city of Turku, and spun-off from the 3D printing bureau 3DTech Ltd, Brinter develops bioprinting systems, modules and inks for medical, research and cosmetics clients. The firm’s offering revolves around its aptly-named ‘Brinter 1,’ which is capable of depositing layers of cell-laden hydrogels into oncological models as well as cancerous and cartilage microtissues.
In practise, Brinter clients are able to use the company’s software to turn MRI, X-ray or CT scanning data into CAD models, before printing them into viable soft tissues for use within drug evaluations, in a way that could help accelerate the translation of new medicines into clinics and bring an end to the use of animal testing.
Priced at €24,900, Brinter’s machines are far from cheap, but they are also uniquely modular in that users can acquire and add different printheads to access a variety of modalities on a single platform. The company’s Pneuma Tool, for instance, enables the dispensing of low-to-medium viscosity bio-inks, while its premium Visco Heated Tool comes with material temperature-regulating functionality.
Funding international growth
According to Brinter, many researchers still use traditional drug discovery and disease modelling methods, when its proprietary 3D bioprinter could help scale the entire process. As a result, using its newly-raised funding, the company aims to make its technology as accessible as possible, and bring bioprinting within reach for all U.S. or European clinical firms, hospitals and universities.
At present, Brinter’s clientele includes companies like Nanoform, as well as researchers at VTT, the University of Glasgow, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, University of Oulu and University of Helsinki. In one particularly promising project at the University of Eastern Finland, the firm’s technology is currently being used to 3D print neural matter for future brain disease modelling applications.
“I am extremely excited to continue our 3D brain printing project with Brinter,” explained Jari Koistinaho, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at the University of Eastern Finland. “3D bioprinting will soon provide us with fine-tuned human mini-brains and brain prosthetics, thereby deepening our understanding of the human mind and our ability to combat serious brain disorders.”
For its part, Innovestor has also identified “accelerated technological, material and methodological” advances within the bioprinting industry, and it now anticipates that Brinter’s technology will supplement this trend, making scientific R&D up to ten times faster and helping to usher in the age of bioprinted heart/kidney transplants.
“We are very excited to be a part of Brinter’s journey,” concluded Wilhelm Lindholm, CEO of Innovestor. “Brinter is an exciting addition to our portfolio as the company’s competitive advantages of multi-material printing capabilities, modularity, and scalability combined with their own easy-to-use software application were very convincing.”
“Companies like Brinter are paving the way for 3D bioprinting, revolutionizing the future of medicine to the point where a customized heart or kidney can be made for a transplant patient.”
Advances in bioprinted organs
While transplantable bioprinted organs remain years away from reality, recent advances in the technology may have shortened this wait considerably. 3D Systems’ continued interest in bioprinting will no doubt hasten its development, and the firm reported “tremendous progress” within its dedicated Print to Perfusion program earlier this year.
As part of a strategic refocus announced by the company in 2020, it has also sought to build on its core healthcare and industrial segments, and acquired Additive Works and bioprinting firm Allevi during May 2021, with this in mind.
Similarly, manufacturers such as UpNano are increasingly entering the bioprinting sector, and the company has now launched its own NanoOne Bio system. Released in May 2021, the firm’s machine is reportedly capable of constructing 3D tissues out of living cells, resulting in viable meso-to-nanoscale sized structures.
In more experimental developments, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Allegro 3D nearly $1 million to fund the R&D of its novel high-throughput bioprinting platform. Using the capital, the firm aims to create a machine that’s capable of rapidly producing in-vitro therapeutic and biomedical testing models.
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Featured image shows Brinter’s 3D bioprinter installed at the University of Oulu. Photo via Brinter.