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17 April 2014

Oxford prints out OxSyBio

The university's most recent spin-out will develop 3D printing techniques to produce tissue-like synthetic materials.

Author: Thierry Heles, reporter

OxSyBio, the latest Oxford University spin-out through its technology transfer company Isis Innovation, is aiming to develop 3D printing techniques that will produce tissue-like synthetic materials for wound healing and drug delivery. OxSyBio has raised £1m ($1.68m) from IP Group, a UK-based intellectual property commercialisation business. The funding is subject to the achievement of milestones. The company has a long-term goal of printing synthetic tissues for organ repair or replacement. 

OxSyBio is spun out from the university's Department of Chemistry, and will refine and advance the 3D droplet printing technology devised by the research group of Hagan Bayley, professor of Chemical Biology. They have developed a technique to print synthetic tissue-like materials from thousands of tiny water droplets each coated in a thin film mimicking a living cell’s external membrane, and studding these membranes with protein pores so they act like simplified cells. In April 2013, the research was featured on the cover page of Science.

IP Group focuses primarily on research at UK universities, and has had a partnership with Oxford University since 2000, when it signed a deal with the Department of Chemistry. It has since provided a third of funding towards a £60m ($100m) research lab, opened in 2004. It then deepened its relationship with the university by acquiring Technikos in 2011, a medical technology fund with a long term commercialisation agreement with the university's Institute of Biomedical Engineering.

Professor Bayley said: “In ten years’ time, the use of pieces of synthetic tissue will be commonplace. The fabrication of complex synthetic organs is a more distant prospect. I am delighted to be working with Isis and IP Group to accelerate the development of our new company, OxSyBio. Our goal is to establish ourselves at the frontline of regenerative medicine.”

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