AMS Spring 2023

CollPlant & United Therapeutics Expand Collaboration to 3D Print Kidneys

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Currently, over 100,000 individuals in the US are on the waiting list for organ transplants. Kidney patients make up the majority of the requests, with over 90,000 people hoping for donor organs. Data shows that seventeen people die every day while they are waiting for new organs; meanwhile, one new patient is added to the list every ten minutes.

Modern options, such as bioprinting may one day eliminate the need for treatments like dialysis, and companies like Organovo have previously served as pioneers in the field of 3D printed kidneys. Now, Israel’s CollPlant Biotechnologies and United Therapeutics are amping up their collaboration further to bioprint kidneys, with the ultimate goal of transplantation.

3D printed lung scaffold © 2020 United Therapeutics Corp.

“Organ shortages are an unmet global health need and by partnering with United Therapeutics for the past couple of years, we have made significant progress with this pivotal organ manufacturing initiative,” explained Yehiel Tal, CollPlant CEO.

CollPlant is entirely dedicated to “regenerative and aesthetic medicine” in relation to tissue regeneration and the creation of human organs. For bioprinting, the CollPlant team relies on their rhCollagen-based bioinks. United Therapeutics, in complement to the technology of CollPlant, is focused on developing products to improve treatment for patients suffering from chronic and life-threatening health issues.

The two companies have been working together since ­­­2018, with great enthusiasm shared for the CollPlant technology, using tobacco plants to make collagen-expressing plants that could lead to the production of a variety of human organs.

“Our collagen-expressing plants are already flourishing in Texas where we enjoy three growing seasons,” says Martine Rothblatt, PhD, chairman and CEO of United Therapeutics.

The two companies originally began working together to use 3D printing in lung transplants. Continuing on, the extension of their collaboration includes a $3 million payment to CollPlant for licensing of their collagen and bioink products. The original agreement included $5 million, with “milestone payments of up to $15 million,” depending on development details.

 “United Therapeutics is pioneering the emerging organ manufacturing field, and we are honored to be part of this effort via this partnership. This option exercise demonstrates another important validation of our rhCollagen platform technology, performing as an optimal building block for regenerative medicine. We remain committed to exploring new innovative applications in the fields of medical aesthetics and 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs,” said Tal.

[Source / Images: Genetic Engineering & BioTechnology News]

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