Oxford University spinout OxSyBio has received £10m in a Series A financing round, with plans to use the money to fund development of its bio-printing technologies.

The round was led by Woodford Investment Management with additional support from IP Group and Parkwalk Advisors.

OxSyBio has been developing a 3D bio-printer that can produce a range of biological materials, with the ultimate aim of printing tissues that can replace diseased or injured body parts. These replacement tissues will be made using either living or artificial cells, or potentially a hybrid of the two.

“The 3D printing of tissues from living cells in high-throughput formats is already proving interesting to academic and pharmaceutical research teams, with massive potential impact right across the board,” Parkwalk Advisors CEO Moray Wright said.

“The concept of artificial cells has had a long history, but with OxSyBio’s platform technology, the concept is becoming a reality.”

OxSyBio was spun out from Oxford University’s Department of Chemistry in 2014, under the institution’s Oxford University Innovation arm. Its research is led by Professor Hagan Bayley, who was also the founding academic of Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

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Of the financing round, Bayley said: “This deal provides the long-term capital required to deliver our ambition of building affordable tissues for patients. The company has already made important strides in translating this technology into a real-world product, and we look forward to continuing our close research collaboration.”

The £10m raised adds to the company’s existing £1m in seed funding, enabling further development of and research into its artificial cell platform and 3D bio-printing technology.

“A big part of what we’re trying to do is industrialise our current printing platform to drive the throughput and quality that you would need for any product you’re putting out,” OxSyBio CEO Dr Hadrian Green told Drug Development Technology.  “We want to make complex things more robustly, more quickly, and with fewer experts required.

“We’re also focusing our attention on building more sophisticated tissues based around artificial cells. This is where our platform comes in, enabling you to create something with all the properties of a living thing without it actually being living, harnessing biology without any of its complications. As it is, cell therapies are very promising but very limited. If you can reduce biological function to something you can manufacture with a 3D printer, you could open up a huge area of potential therapeutics. That’s why the investment is more of a platform investment, rather than funding for a single product.

“Non-living biology is a lot more ambitious and future-oriented than the living cell work we do,” Green added.

“We think ultimately a lot of the work we do with living cells can be replaced by non-living biomaterials.”

OxSyBio has already reported early success in using its bio-printer for implants in animal models, with eventual hopes for this technology to be used in human patients.