Indian tech start-up Avay Biosciences has launched ‘Mito Plus,’ an indigenous state-of-the-art bio 3D printer that can print human tissues. Bioprinting is a method of tissue replication that uses ‘bioinks’ which are engineered to print artificial living tissues like skin used during bioprinting.
Bioprinting temporarily or permanently supports and nurtures living cells. The first prototype of Mito Plus was installed at Indian Institute of Science (IIS), Bangalore, the top ranked science research institute by NIRF rankings.
Thousands of lives are lost every year in India alone due to the lack of suitable organ donors. And even if a person is able to find one, transplants can cost more than ₹10 lakhs, not including the cost of anti-rejection drugs.
Bioprinting is a method of tissue replication, and is the first step because organs are a composition of various tissues. Bioinks are materials engineered to allow the specific type of cells to grow and multiply while supporting the tissue’s structure.
Mito Plus was launched during the Bengaluru Tech Summit, which is being held between November 16 and November 18. It is the advanced version of the bio 3D printer developed with inputs on the prototype from the research lab of Dr Bikramjit Basu at IISc, and developed by Avay which was co-founded by an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras alumnus.
It is one of the advanced 3D bioprinters in India. Avay Biosciences provides completely indigenous development of both software and hardware for end-to-end bio 3D printing solutions in India.
The start-up is already partnering with premier research and development institutes across India including IIT Madras, Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education And Research (NIPER), Hyderabad, and BITS Pilani (Goa campus) as customers and collaborators.
According to various bioprinting market reports, the global 3D bioprinting market is currently valued at $1.3 billion as of 2022 and is projected to reach $3.3 billion by 2027. There is a huge demand seen in the pharmaceutical and cosmetology industries.
Elaborating on the key applications of ‘Mito Plus,’ Manish Amin, chief executive officer of Avay Biosciences, said, “Mito plus is one of the advanced bioprinter at its price range. A wide range of biomaterials can be printed in Mito plus. This printer will also have UV curing options inbuilt in the printer. The printer has HEPA filter and the major feature is the Temperature control where the printhead and the printbed can be cooled up to 4 degree celsius as well as heated up to 80 degrees celsius. Mito plus can be used for pharmaceutical drug discovery and drug testing application, It can also be used in the cancer biology and cosmetology applications.”
Further, explaining how 3D bio printing works and can be an alternative to organ transplants, Amin added, “Bioprinters work in almost the exact same way as other 3d printers do, with one major difference i.e. instead of delivering materials such as plastic, metal or powders , bioprinters deposit layer of biomaterials, that may include living cells, to build complex structures like skin tissue, liver tissue etc.”
“3D bioprinting is a unique gift to humanity by science and technology. Although there are many challenges that are yet to be solved. There is still a long way to go before we can create fully functioning and viable organs for human transplant,” he concluded.
Avay Biosciences has developed the 3D printers in-house with around 70 per cent of manufacturing undertaken in Chennai and Bengaluru. They have a dedicated software team focused on constantly adding new features and building better software.
Further, speaking about the research that would benefit from Mito Plus launch, Suhridh Sundaram, chief operating officer, Avay Biosciences, said, “Our approach to the creation of entirely new organs begins with the journey of creating new tissue samples – a critical stepping stone for a very long-term and difficult journey. In collaboration with ICT Mumbai, we are working on having our printers develop skin – the most common type of layered tissue that could help victims of severe burns. These tissues can also be used for toxicology screens and various other testing mechanisms. Contact us for more details on the research being conducted, and how we can help your mission.”
Typically bioprinting uses various types of polymers which attempt to recreate the extracellular matrix (ECM) native to the specific cell. The availability of cost-effective bioprinters is an essential step in developing artificial organs, since all future research depends on this infrastructure. Bioprinting is a process that uses live cells and biomaterials/bioinks to create functional human tissues and organs. If animal cells are used, bioprinting can also be utilized to develop artificial meat, a space-age food dream.