Shares in Organovo (ONVO) leapt over 8 percent in early trading on Tuesday, with the catalyst coming when the company presented data showing that their 3D, bioprinted liver tissue could retain key liver functions for up to 40 days. The gains continue a strong year for Organovo, which has added over 150 percent since the beginning of 2013.
3D Bioprinting Should Benefit Drug Studies
Organovo uses bioprinting technology that layers human cells to create functional human tissue. The long-term goal would be to create functional human organs, but the near-term goals are focused on creating technology for use in research and testing. Organovo’s 3D bioprinted tissue can be used in testing the toxicity of experimental pharmaceuticals early in the R&D process, allowing pharmaceutical companies to potentially save billions on drug development by identifying issues with experimental drugs before bringing them to clinical trials.
The data, which is being presented at the 3rd Annual Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Conference, also showed that Organovo’s liver tissue demonstrated dose-dependent to acetaminophen, a liver-toxicant, meaning the tissue could be used to assess toxicology issues for a human liver.
Results Are Ahead of Schedule
The results for the bioprinted liver tissue demonstrate that Organovo’s concepts are coming much sooner than previously anticipated. Earlier timelines gave Organovo until the end of the year to produce results like these. The company remains on track for a 2014 launch of their 3D human liver product.
"This additional functional validation of Organovo's 3D Liver continues the demonstration of strong performance of these tissues," said CEO Keith Murphy. "In April we were able to show that liver function was retained in our 3D Liver for over five days, and we have now demonstrated that our tissues perform consistently for at least 40 days, a significant improvement over the average 48 hour performance of 2D cultures. The stable, liver-specific functionality of 3D Liver is consistent with our observations that other NovoGen bioprinted tissues become fully cellular, steady state, living tissues that persist over time. Furthermore, the fact that these tissues demonstrate similar activity to native liver when presented with a known challenge drug is an encouraging indication of utility in drug development."