Ghent start-up BIO INX and gelatine producer Rousselot are collaborating on a new, standardised biomedical-grade bioink for printing three-dimensional human tissue. The road to the clinic is now shorter than ever.

Developments in 3D bioprinting are moving fast. Bioinks are already being used to print eyeballs, organ parts and bones. Organs-on-a-chip are also making clever use of the technology. Unfortunately, many of the wonderful applications remain in the research phase and do not make it to the clinic,’ says Jasper van Hoorick, CEO of BIO INX. The problem lies in the lack of standardised biomaterials with a quality label.

3D printed human fibroblasts inside the X-Pure based GEL-Ma INX X100

3D printed human fibroblasts inside the X-Pure based GEL-Ma INX X100

Beeld: BIO INX

But BIO INX has good news: thanks to a collaboration with Rousselot, the market leader in gelatine and collagen-based solutions, they are now developing a new bioink. Made from Rousselot’s X-Pure® biomedical grade gelatine, this bioink is extremely pure. It can be used to print in the presence of living cells. Van Hoorick: ’The road to the clinic is now shorter than ever, because this bioink offers unprecedented standardisation in this field.

Long relationship

The collaboration between BIO INX and the gelatine producer did not come out of the blue. The initial impetus came 25 years ago when the Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials Group at Ghent University used Rousselot’s gelatine to create a biomaterial that has become one of the most popular biomaterials in the world: gelatine methacryloyl (GEL-MA).

GEL-MA proved to be the starting point for a whole range of bioinks and materials. In 2022, these developments led to the creation of BIO INX by Van Hoorick and his colleagues Aysu Arslan, Coralie Gréant, Agnes Dobos and Professor Sandra Van Vlierberghe, from whose laboratory the company was spun off. And now that we have entered into a strategic collaboration with Rousselot, we have come full circle,” says Van Hoorick.

Web shop

In addition to the new X-Pure version of GEL-MA INX©, BIO INX will also offer the X-Pure® gelatine products in its web shop. This is a win-win situation for both parties. We are very happy,’ says Van Hoorick. Not only does it give us a lot of credibility as a company, but it also helps us work together to bring bioprinting applications to the clinic. In this way, we are building the better medicine of tomorrow.