UpNano and BIO INX develop new bioprinting material for two-stage 3D-printing of organ-on-chip devices with encapsulated live cells

UpNano, a manufacturer of 2-photon polymerization (2PP) 3D printers, has explored the use of a new resin on its machines: the bioink Hydrotech INX© U200. Developed by material specialist BIO INX headquartered in Belgium, the new material enables the fabrication of complex and versatile organ- or lab-on-chip designs.

The results of this collaboration now allow to add an additional layer of complexity to a bioprinted construct by the smart combination of multiple biocompatible materials. In this respect, versatile cancer-on-chip models are possible by combining the newly launched resin with cell-encapsulating gelatin-based hydrogel Hydrobio INX© U200. The latter would be the “first commercially available high resolution bio ink that offers cell interactivity”.

Macrostructures with micrometer-precision
With the release of Hydrotech INX© U200 the two companies demonstrate their success in developing a versatile material that enables 2PP 3D-printing of macrostructures with micrometer-precision. The material has been certified according to ISO 10993-5, confirming its excellent biocompatibility.

Jasper Van Hoorick, CEO of BIO INX, comments: “In combination with the fact that the material is completely bio-inert, its robust characteristics make Hydrotech INX© U200 the ideal choice for organ-on-chip applications.”

The material can be processed on UpNano’s NanoOne 2PP-printer, a high-resolution 3D printing system based on multiphoton lithography and which delivers a throughput of up to 450 mm³ per hour. Furthermore, the NanoOne Bio is specifically adapted for printing with living cells and under sterile conditions – and thus a congenial partner for the most challenging task in bioprinting: fabrication of complex 3D scaffolds for cell cultures whilst embedding living cells into these structures in one simple set-up.

Combining these steps can easily be done,” explains Denise Hirner, COO and co-founder of UpNano, “by using the NanoOne Bio in combination with the two bioinks Hydrotech INX© U200 for the inert structure and Hydrobio INX© U200 for living cells in 3 dimensions.”

In fact, whilst the Hydrotech-bioink is perfectly optimized for the high-resolution fabrication of bioinert but biocompatible microstructures, the Hydrobio-bioink is a water-soluble natural hydrogel that allows the direct transfer of cell cultures from 2D-culture plates into complex 3D-structures. It has been specifically developed for the encapsulation of multiple cell types thereby allowing the generation of complex 3D-microtissues.

In addition to lab-on-a-chip devices with embedded living cells, surface structures resembling natural tissues (biomimetic structures) such as liver lobules or intestinal villi can now be created inside a microfluidic channel on a chip, and living cells at various densities can subsequently be seeded directly onto them.

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