Frequently asked questions
Questions about Biopixlar and bioprinting
Bioprinting can be defined as “The use of 3D printing technology with materials that incorporate viable living cells, e.g. to produce tissue for reconstructive surgery.” (Oxford English Dictionary)
Bioprinting techniques have the capacity to generate more biologically relevant tissues, when compared to common cell culturing.
In an organism such as the human body, there are four different levels of organization: cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems:
- Cells make up the most basic level of organization; a cell is the building block of a living organism.
- Tissues are composed of groups of cells that work together and have a similar structure and function.
- Organs are groups of tissues that work together to perform a certain function.
- Organ systems are made up of groups of organs that work together in order to carry out a certain function.
The main bioprinting technologies currently existing are bioextrusion, inkjet and laser assisted. All these technologies have their advantages and inconveniences, but they all require the use of a bioink.
Biopixlar technology is none of the above. It is based on a proprietary microfluidics technology which is Fluicell core expertise and is developed for handling limited cell samples and high-resolution bioprinting.
As a result, Biopixlar can produce tissues which accurately mimic the multi-cellular composition, as well as elements of the 3D architecture and the surrounding microenvironment.
The global bioprinting market is still in its infancy and is forecasted to grow from 208.1 million USD in 2018 to 1.4 billion USD in 2024, at an overall CAGR of 35.4%. The figures vary from one market analysis to another, so we have decided to publish the numbers as they appear in BCC Research, Report BIO176A from May 2019.
The growth in this market has been driven by technological advancements in 3D bioprinters and biomaterials, increasing the use of 3D bioprinting in the pharmaceutical and cosmetology industries, in addition to rising public and private funding to support bioprinting research. Biopixlar is positioned to target the research application segment which currently represents more than 97% of the addressable market.
Biopixlar is a new type of high-resolution bioprinting platform that can create detailed, multi-cellular and complex biological tissues, at an unmatched level of precision. Furthermore, Biopixlar® is an all-in-one platform, where the bioprinting process is integrated with an advanced imaging system, perfectly suited for real-time experiments.
In simple words, Biopixlar is a complete platform capable of printing living cells onto a surface in 2D and 3D. With Biopixlar, researchers can print several types of cells using the same printhead, to create relevant biological tissues. The printhead is a sterilized consumable made from medical grade elastomer based on innovative Fluicell microfluidic technology and unique know-how (see video about Fluicell’s know-how on our webpage). Areas of use include, inter alia, investigations into the biology of human diseases, tissue engineering and drug development applications.
Fluicell is the first company on the global bioprinting market to commercialize a microfluidics based high resolution bioprinter, that doesn´t need bioink to pattern cells. It is capable of printing tissues from cells suspended within native growth media.
Biopixlar® is also the first single cell bioprinting platform that allows the design and manufacture of biological tissues by depositing cells directly onto a substrate.
In contrast to other bioprinting technologies, Biopixlar® controls both the resolution (the ability to print cell by cell) and the accuracy of printing (the ability to precisely position the cells in the printed tissue).
Every cell in the tissue has an intrinsic nature of communicating with other cells in their vicinity. Therefore, controlling individual cells and their positioning during the bioprinting process can translate into more reliable in vitro tissue models, which better represent the phenotype/functionality of native tissues. This faithful reproduction of native tissues is especially important when trying to understand the biology of diseases, and to generate reproducible models for use in efficacy and safety tests during drug development. Applications within regenerative medicine research also requires precise cell and architecture patterning.
Biopixlar® has been created to address a clear gap in the bioprinting market for faithful reproduction of tissues, enabling models to be printed with high-resolution and a high degree of control over the individual cells. In this context, Biopixlar® is a new concept in bioprinting.
We have the potential and the opportunity to create a new market segment dedicated to high-resolution tissue models, where focus is on generating high value tissues, with detailed cell patterning.
There are many interesting alternative technologies on the Bioprinting market. However, none of them are capable of printing high-resolution tissues in the same manner and with the same precision as it can be achieved with Biopixlar technology.
The leading competitive technologies within the bioprinting space utilise a bioink to suspend and support the cells, to allow for printing in air onto a surface (cells being embedded in the bioink). The bioprinting control is therefore tailored to position the bioink, not the cells. Thus, the cell positioning cannot be readily controlled by the bioprinter, as their location is determined by the encapsulation within the bioink.
The Biopixlar® platform offers the benefit of building tissues in standard cell culture media, a stark contrast to the gel/polymer matrix which is employed in other 3D bioprinting technologies. This results in very high cell viability typically exceeding 95%, when compared to standard cell culture. Features such as tissue organization and cell pattern density can be readily controlled.
Moreover, Biopixlar® holds a technological advantage by requiring a small sample size (cell number) for generating relevant tissues. Tissues can be generated from as low as about 100 cells to reach a satisfactory level of confluency. This becomes an extremely important feature when tissues are to be built directly from human primary, stem cells, or patient biopsies which are very scarce and valuable.
Questions about sales and communication
This is indeed one of our focus. The importance of having a strong R&D program in a biotech company is hard to overstate. Building scientific partnerships with important actors within academic and industrial fields will allow for continued development of Biopixlar® applications, providing strategies for end-users to generate tissues that can significantly enhance their biological research and also enables us to develop new products and services.
We have a professional sales team in house, who have established a proactive and well-balanced sales strategy, to reach out to new potential customers, while also supporting existing customer relationships.
An important part of our sales activity is meeting with potential buyers directly, either through conferences and workshops or through product demonstrations. This enables us to connect to a broad client base, while also allowing us to work towards establishing partnerships. The goal is to create a sales pipeline which can then be followed as sales cycles are often long in life science, ca. 12 to 18 months.
As many of our customers are also publishing articles in scientific journals using our instruments (Biopen & Dynaflow and in the Future, Biopixlar). This is an important way for us to reach researchers in academia and in R&D who are the main readers of these publications and to create awareness of our products.
Fluicell is proud to have an established portfolio of 3 products, to address researchers needs within the life sciences. Biopixlar is currently a big part of our focus, due to its huge potential. It is targeting a rapidly growing market with many potential applications (see question about the bioprinting market). Since we launched Biopixlar in November 2019, we have been actively marketing to both academic and industrial actors.
Biopixlar is a new and exciting platform within our portfolio, Simultaneously, we also strive to further increase the sales of our other products. These 2 products have, over the last couple of years, been gaining in market traction and we are seeing an increase in the number of grant applications to purchase these platforms.
In 2016, Fluicell was following a sales approach which leveraged exclusive distributors to gain a global reach for the products. The results of this approach were found to be unsatisfactory, and as such, a more direct model was employed by the end of 2018, establishing an in-house sales force to connect Fluicell to its customers. Established distributor agreements were renegotiated to maintain the global reach, while allowing Fluicell to retain control and access to all markets.
A professional sales team is now in place, which has greatly increased our sales capacity and continuing to foster new relationships. The sales pipeline is now in constant growth and we have confidence in future expansion.
Most of the sales are communicated by press release via Cision. The smaller sales are mentioned in the quarterly reports.
Most of our news is published on our website, on LinkedIn or Twitter. We have been publishing an average of 1 news item per week during 2019. We are planning on communicating much more about Fluicell & what is happening in the company this year. We would like to show how dynamic and involved the company is and how focused and goal oriented the team is. We have in addition, the goal of having a more dynamic Investor Relations page on our website and opening a Facebook group page.
We publish most of our news on our website as well as on LinkedIn and through Twitter. Our goal is to increase our communication activities further during 2020. We are a great team filled with ambitious and dedicated people, something that will be reflected in our communication activities going forward. Our ambition is to become more visible in terms of showing the work that we do to paint a clearer picture of what the visions and ideals of the company are.
Aside from our online communications channels, we also strive to increase our presence at workshops and seminars, facilitating face-to-face meetings with Fluicell representatives. At Fluicell, we believe in fostering a community and to bring forward new talent. Our ambition is therefore to keep our facilities open to student visits and to enable students to perform Master’s projects with us.
We have recently redesigned our Investor relations page to make it more user-friendly and will soon also add a Facebook page to our communications channels.
We will participate to investor days, publish more news and shoot a video about the company, to raise awareness of who Fluicell is and what its values are. To this end, we are aiming on being more talkative and pedagogical. 2019 was a year when we worked hard to enable the product launch we have now completed, and it is our ambition to be more active on communicating going forward.