Janssen Research and Development, a Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company, is looking into 3D printing living tissue for drug research, according to a document filed with the SEC Thursday. The company will partner with Organovo, an expert in bioprinting.
Organovo has 3D-printed everything from blood vessels to thyroid tissue, and has long-term plans to print entire organs. Later this year it will begin offering liver tissue to drug companies for testing the toxicity of drugs — its first commercial product.
Janssen is more interested in using 3D-printed tissue to discover drugs. By exposing many different 3D-printed cells to many different early-stage drugs, it can determine which are the most effective. Janssen and Organovo did not disclose further details about the agreement.
Organovo announced a partnership with the National Institutes of Health in January that focuses on printing eye tissue for drug and disease studies.
“Researchers who develop new therapies for patients are too often hampered by animal models and traditional cell culture models that are poor predictors of drug efficacy and toxicity in human beings,” Organovo CEO Keith Murphy said in a January release. “Our 3D printer creates living human tissues that more closely reproduce in vivo human tissues.”