Until recently, 3D bioprinting was all but unheard of. Now, it’s everywhere as research institutions and private companies alike scramble to be a part of this rapidly growing, lifesaving, revolutionary industry. Most of the news coming out of the bioprinting sector comes from hospitals, universities, and research laboratories as they develop new methods of 3D printing human tissue. So far, only a few companies have developed and marketed 3D printers specifically designed for bioprinting, so it’s always big news when a new one hits the market.
Last year, South Korean 3D printer manufacturer Rokit announced that they would be entering the 3D bioprinting space following a $3 million grant from the government. At the time, the company stated that one of their ultimate goals was to develop a 3D bioprinter; now, less than a year later, it appears that they’ve already reached that goal. Rokit has officially announced the release of the 3Dison Invivo, a “tissue engineering and bio-medical research 3D printer.”
The Invivo is the latest addition to the company’s line of multi-material 3Dison printers, and it looks to be a highly verstatile bioprinter, with both an extruder and a liquid dispenser. According to Rokit, the Invivo can print with a multitude of materials including PLGA, PCL, PLLA, collagen, alginate, and silk fibroin. The company also states that the Invivo will do away with many of the disadvantages of existing bioprinters.
“Compared to the increase in demand for 3D printing three-dimensional tissue engineering research, price of existing products is too expensive,” company officials said. “In many cases 3d bio printers focus on simple mechanical efficiency rather than specifications that researchers want.”
Rokit has a pretty good idea of what researchers want, as their CEO Seok Hwan You is the former CEO of Celltrion Healthcare, a biopharmaceutical research and development company. He drew on his extensive biological knowledge gained in his previous employment and combined it with 3D printing technology to design the Invivo, which he hopes will “contribute to pioneered new areas in Korea’s bio-industry.”
The 3Dison Invivo will officially hit the market in April; no word as to what its cost will be just yet. It won’t be the last of Rokit’s contributions to the bioprinting market; the company has stated that they intend to follow up with a 3D bioprinter designed to print patient-specific skin. 3D printing skin tissue was one of the major focus areas at the very beginning of the government-funded project that Rokit has been collaborating on with the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, Seoul National University Hospital, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and Hanyang University. The project, for which the $3 million grant was awarded, aims to develop a novel form of bioprinting that will allow for skin to be applied directly to patients, revolutionizing the treatment of burns and other skin damage. Discuss this new technology in the Rokit 3D Bioprinter forum over at 3DPB.com.