News Feature | July 30, 2014

J&J And Organovo Link For 3D-Printing Drug Discovery

By Estel Grace Masangkay


Johnson & Johnson company Janssen Research and Development announced that it is has entered into collaboration with bioprinting firm Organovo to investigate 3D printing of living tissue for drug discovery and research.

Bioprinting 3D living tissue offers the potential to speed up drug discovery and testing compared to 2D cell cultures. Janssen R&D expressed interest in testing early-stage drugs on various 3D printed cells to measure efficacy. Organovo has dabbled in 3D printing of blood vessels and thyroid tissue, with the long-term goal of printing entire organs for research purposes. In April the company announced pre-release availability of 3D liver contract services, including toxicity testing.

Organovo's Chairman and CEO Keith Murphy, said that the company has received interest in anticipation of its 3D liver tissue product launch. “The compelling data already generated on the performance of the 3D Human Liver Tissue has driven this interest, we… [will] begin signing contracts. We'll be able to deliver results for proprietary compounds and other needs, while completing the work for fuller product and service launch on our original timeline.” 

No financial terms of the new agreement between J&J and Organovo were disclosed by either company.

Earlier this year Organovo reported that it has partnered with two institutes under the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to 3D print living tissues for medical purposes. The company is currently working with the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Eye Institute to advance understanding in disease progress by printing eye tissue for research.

In addition to exploring 3D cell printing for R&D, this April Janssen reported that it signed into collaboration with the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug’s agent for its anti-tuberculosis drug.