Swiss startup TissueLabs launched TissueRay, the first masked stereolithography 3D bioprinter in the market, consolidating its position as a leading biofabrication company. The new MSLA-based machine is being presented on Monday, November 15th, at the 6th Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) World Congress. This is yet another indication that the bioprinting market, a segment we have been following closely for almost a decade, is now finally coming into its own as a real, global commercial opportunity.
The new bioprinter complements TissueLabs’ hardware offer and gives customers the tools needed to thrive in the field of biofabrication, allowing them to create microfluidic devices, organs-on-chips, cell-laden constructs, and scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications.
Known for the entry-level extrusion-based system TissueStart, TissueLabs is giving an essential step into becoming a reference in biofabrication. According to the company, by bringing the speed of light to 3D bioprinting, TissueRay offers the perfect combination of high resolution and throughput. The light-based system allows the creation of microfluidic devices, organs-on-chips, cell-laden constructs, and scaffolds for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications.
“We are excited to bring MSLA technology to the bioprinting market. Today, extrusion and SLA bioprinting methods represent the most promising approaches for creating 3D tissues in the lab. To date, we were only offering the extrusion-based 3D bioprinter TissueStart. Now, with the release of TissueRay, we complement our hardware offer and give our customers all the tools needed to thrive in the field of biofabrication”, said Dr. Gabriel Liguori, founder and CEO of TissueLabs.
Unlike the currently available light-based bioprinters, which rely on digital light processing (DLP), TissueRay uses masked stereolithography (MSLA) technology. The critical difference between DLP-based printers and TissueRay’s technology is that it utilizes an array of light-emitting diodes combined with an LCD mask to shape the light image instead of using a digital light projector. Thus, the printing accuracy is fixed and does not depend on how well you can zoom the lens, as with DLP. The TissueRay carries a 4K screen, which results in a 35 μm XY resolution. The printer accepts Petri dishes of any size up to 60 mm and can print objects up to 7 cm in height.
The MSLA TissueRay 3D bioprinter will retail for €11,999 (about $14,000), but until the end of 2021, it will be available for pre-order at a 20%-discounted rate. The price tag continues the aggressive pricing strategy TissueLabs had demonstrated since the launch of their extrusion-based system, about one year ago, when TissueStart was made available for around €4,999 (currently it costs €5,999). Once again, TissueLabs is halving the prices of similar products. The company expects it to be a catalyst for more researchers to access biofabrication technologies and, consequently, bring bioprinting-based therapies to the clinical practice sooner.
“We believe cutting-edge technologies in healthcare should be available for the most users possible. Otherwise, the time it takes for therapies based on such technologies to arrive for the patients is incompatible with the urgency life-threatening diseases impose. Reducing the prices for the end-customer is our commitment to make bioprinting-based therapies a step closer to those who need them.”, said Dr. Liguori.
Besides the light-based bioprinter, TissueLabs will also offer the bioinks to be used with the hardware platform. Additionally to PEGDA and GelMA-based bioinks, the startup will also provide tissue-specific bioinks. Currently, TissueLabs already offers such bioinks – available for 15 different tissues – for extrusion bioprinting, under the commercial name of MatriXpec™. They plan to have the same options available for light-based bioprinting, including alternatives for the following tissues: Adipose, Bone, Brain, Cartilage, Colon, Kidney, Liver, Lung, Muscle, Myocardium, Pancreas, Skin, Spleen, Stomach, and Vascular.
TissueLabs quickly became a popular name in bioprinting for researchers in academia and the private sector. The company’s technologies are now featured in dozens of laboratories worldwide, located in over 15 different countries. Since the startup was founded, it has raised around US$ 700,000 among research grants and private investments, a modest sum considering the advances the startup has made so far. For his work leading TissueLabs, Dr. Liguori was named a ‘Forbes Under 30’ and elected by the MIT Technology Review as an ‘MIT Innovator Under 35’. Recently, TissueLabs was awarded as one of the top finalists of MassChallenge Switzerland out of over 1,000 other startups.