September 12, 2022
3D Systems is forming a new, wholly owned company called Systemic Bio, a biotech company focused on the application of advanced bioprinting technologies to pharmaceutical drug discovery and development. Systemic Bio will leverage 3D Systems’ production-level bioprinting technology to create precise vascularized organ models using biomaterials and human cells.
These organs-on-chips can be manufactured reproducibly in large quantities, and then perfused with any desired drug compound to study drug metabolism and the effects on healthy or diseased tissue at the earliest stages of new pharmaceutical drug development. The ability to accurately simulate human response to an experimental drug in the laboratory, early in the development process, offers the potential to reduce costs and extended times required for pharmaceutical companies to bring a new drug to market. This approach could reduce or eliminate the need for animal testing as a precursor to human trials for new drug development, according to 3D Systems.
Systemic Bio’s efforts will be supported by an initial $15 million seed investment from 3D Systems, which is envisioned to support them through the start-up phase. Systemic Bio intends to open a new growth market for 3D Systems in the pharmaceutical arena, creating a biotech revenue stream for the company that could approach $100 million annually over the next 5 years.
3D Systems uses bioprinting to accelerate innovation in regenerative medicine for human organ and nonorgan applications. In June 2022, United Therapeutics Corp. announced that, in partnership with 3D Systems, it had successfully produced a complex 3D-printed object—a human lung scaffold. Systemic Bio will leverage its bioprinting solutions in combination with 3D Systems’ Print to Perfusion process to bioprint highly complex, custom-designed, vascularized tissues for its organ-on-a-chip platform, called h-VIOS.
The h-VIOS (human vascularized integrated organ systems) organ-on-a-chip platform comprises plates of cellularized or acellular vascularized three-dimensional scaffolds, and accompanying accessories needed for drug testing. h-VIOS uses hydrogels that more closely resemble human tissues. The combination of these hydrogels with 3D Systems’ Print to Perfusion process for cellularization, enables 3D printing of high-resolution scaffolds that closely mimic human tissues.
These bioprinted scaffolds can be seeded with human cells from different organs, including healthy and diseased, creating tissues to screen drug candidates for safety and efficacy. This human-based, physiologically relevant platform has the potential to change the way new drug therapies are developed.
Systemic Bio produces these customized chips on its bioprinters at its facility in Houston, TX. Systemic Bio is now working to establish multi-phase partnerships with pharmaceutical companies that could lead to the discovery of promising new drugs. Beyond providing organ-on-a-chip test samples, pharmaceutical companies may also seek to retain Systemic Bio to provide contract research services in addition to procuring custom-designed h-VIOS to perform their own research and testing.
To lead the new company, 3D Systems has named Taci Pereira as Systemic Bio’s chief executive officer. Pereira joined 3D Systems in May 2021 from Allevi, where she was chief scientific officer. Since that time, she has served as vice president and General Manager, Bioprinting, leading the development and commercialization of research tools for 3D bioprinting applications.
“As the leader of our Allevi business, Taci brought a unique blend of business acumen and bioprinting expertise that has enabled our continued growth in laboratory solutions,” says Menno Ellis, executive vice president, healthcare solutions, 3D Systems. “Her knowledge, passion and demonstrated leadership position Taci very well for her new role as CEO of Systemic Bio.”
“The complexity and precision that we have now demonstrated using biocompatible materials and our most advanced production bioprinting platform technology is truly groundbreaking, opening a host of new applications ranging from the laboratory to replacement organs within the human body,” adds Dr. Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO of 3D Systems. “In forming Systemic Bio we are applying these core technologies to specifically address critical needs within the pharmaceutical market. With our potential to ultimately manufacture hundreds or even thousands of custom-designed, proprietary human tissue models, pharmaceutical companies can more rapidly and accurately evaluate the efficacy of developmental drugs in the laboratory, with the goal of reducing development time and eventually eliminating the need for animal testing.”
Systemic Bio is currently offering its h-VIOS platform to select initial partners. Companies that are interested in becoming a Systemic Bio partner can visit the website for more information.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.