BioBots is Selling a 3D Bioprinter for $10,000
In August of 2013, we wrote about a company called EnvisionTEC and their 286 pound 3D Bioprinter which was selling for under $200,000. At this price point, 3D bioprinting remains largely out of reach for most consumers who might want to play around with this new technology but don’t have that type of cash laying around. If a 3D bioprinter was offered at a reasonable price point, more development and experimentation would take place helping 3D bioprinting develop into viable commercial applications. We recently came across a firm called BioBots which offers a fully functional 3D bioprinter for just $10,000.
Founded in 2014, BioBots has taken in just $1.55 million in funding to develop the BioBot 1, a high-resolution desktop 3D bioprinter that builds functional three-dimensional living tissue. The BioBot 1 is the first desktop 3D bioprinter with a measurement of only 12 inches cubed.
At a price point of just $10,000, the BioBot 1 uses a wide variety of materials including collagen, gelatin, PEG, alginate, etc. Anything that can be extruded out of a syringe works in this small machine that weighs just 19 pounds. Following extrusion, the BioBot 1 uses visible blue light to cure biomaterials rapidly without damaging cells. In order to accelerate usage of their new bioprinter, BioBots initially offered their printers at deeply discounted prices to 20 research facilities around the world. Today you can get your hands on one for just $10,000.
To help you along the path to start printing your own body parts, BioBots offers up an article titled “Your First Bioprint” which shows you how to print the scaffold for a child’s bronchi (bronchi are the main passageway into the lungs). All you’ll need for this exercise is your BioBot 1 and some Bio127 which is a structural support material that gels at room temperature and then dissolves away when cooled. At $1 a gram, this consumable presents a recurring revenue stream for BioBots going forward. You can then load the Pediatric Bronchi STL file which is a predefined 3D drawing of your bronchi, apply various settings as recommended by BioBot, and then print away.
BioBots has a section of their website titled “Build With Life” where they hope to establish the first open repository of biological information about 3D bioprinting. The BioBots business model leans more towards an open system of collaboration and information sharing as opposed to a more closed system that companies like Organovo (NYSEMKT:ONVO) are pursuing. We’ve talked about Organovo before and how sensitive they are to criticisms of their business model. We’ve also pointed out that companies developing organs-on-a-chip technologies like Insphero are a real threat to Organovo’s business model of manufacturing cells for use by drug companies for pre-clinical tests. In the past year, ONVO shares have lost over -50% of their value which isn’t all that surprising when your company’s financials look like this:
While Organovo has managed to partner themselves with Merk, we’ve always been wary of their previous past as an OTC company. The emergence of an affordable bioprinter that anyone can use means more competition for Organovo and more concern for investors. Should ONVO lose another 50% of its value, the Company may be forced to go back to trading on the OTC market in which case they won’t be in a very good position to raise additional funds from institutional investors. Still, Organovo (NYSEMKT:ONVO) had around 70 million in cash at the end of 2015 which could last them several years.
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