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Organovo & Merck Enter Multi-year Research Partnership for 3D Printed Human Tissue

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o3The 3D bioprinting space may be about to take off in a big way. As investment dollars flow into companies seeking to transform medicine via the 3D printing of biological material, innovated new approaches are emerging, and researchers are certainly excited.

It’s been about five months since we reported on Organovo’s launch of the world’s first commercially available 3D printed human tissue, exVive3D. ExVive3D will eventually be a line of several 3D printed human tissues, however,the liver was the first that they launched.o2

While Organovo’s (NYSE:ONVO) stock price may be in the basement, it appears that the company itself is firing on all cylinders. Since the November launch of exVive3D, they’ve announced an exVive3D printable kidney tissue will also be coming to market next year, as well as initial plans for products within the cosmetic space. Additionally, CEO Keith Murphy estimated that within 4-6 years the company will be able to 3D print human organ patches to repair damaged organs.

That’s not all though. Organovo has been busy signing deals with larger corporations for research partnerships. Just two weeks ago, the company announced that they had reached a collaboration agreement with L’Oréal USA for research within the cosmetic space, gaining access to their skin cell technology.

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In a major announcement yesterday, Organovo reached yet another research agreement, this time with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK). The deal, which was signed on April 17th and filed with the SEC just yesterday, will further extend Organovo’s research capabilities. The filing read as follows:

“Organovo Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”) entered into a multi-year research collaboration agreement with Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (“Merck”). The Agreement will give Merck o1access to Organovo’s commercial exVive3D TM Human Liver Tissue service, and will also involve a collaboration to develop multiple custom tissue models utilizing the Company’s proprietary NovoGen Bioprinting Platform TM , for use in drug development.”

Key financial terms of the agreement have not been released.  However, the market certainly liked the news yesterday as shares of Organovo closed the day up over 15%.

As the company continues to branch out, expanding their reach into multiple verticals, it will be interesting to see what ultimately comes out of these research agreements, and if perhaps a longer term acquisition plan may be in the works by either Merck or L’Oréal.  After all, Murphy has been quoted as saying that he would entertain the possibility of an acquisition.  Let’s hear your thoughts on this latest deal in the Merck/Organovo forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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