Japanese 3-D bioprinter startup Cyfuse raises $12M in Series B to go global

Courtesy of Cyfuse

Cyfuse Biomedical is aiming to take its 3-D bioprinting technology to researchers around the world with its infusion of ¥1.4 billion ($12 million). This brings the total financing for this Japanese startup that was founded in 2010 to $16.5 million. Its bioprinter can be used to create tissue structures including cartilage and subchondral bone, tubular tissues such as blood vessels, digestive and urinary organs, and miniature livers.

The startup first shipped its Regenova bio 3-D printer to Japanese universities in 2013. But now it's ready to start overseas sale of it for research purposes, as well as to continue development of further applications of its tissue engineering technology. The company is based on the research of Dr. Koichi Nakayama of Saga University at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Kyushu University.

His 3-D printing method relies upon the culturing of cellular aggregates called spheroids on fine needle arrays that allow the adjacent spheroids to form a connected, macroscopic structure over time without the use of collagen or hydrogel. There are several tens of thousands of cells per spheroid. Culturing connected cellular spheroids are placed in a bioreactor for days or weeks to promote the aggregation of cells to create 3-D tissue.

Courtesy of Cyfuse

The array enables circulation of the culture medium and oxygen until the tissue is mature enough to no longer require it. The technology is able to produce thicker and more elastic tissue than was possible previously with various cell types. It's expected to be used for drug discovery and for regenerative medicine.

Cyfuse has been developing this tech with the support of the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization. In 2010, it also partnered with Shibuya Kogyo to develop its 3-D bioprinter Regenova.

The recent financing is backed by 12 investors, including VCs and strategic investors. These include its partner Shibuya Kogyo, health information provider M3 and Daiwa as well as JAFCO, Nippon Venture Capital, DBJ Capital and the University of Tokyo Edge Capital.

"Bio 3-D printing technology is going to push regenerative medicine forward," Cyfuse CEO Koji Kuchiishi told Bloomberg. "Someday we are going to see a world where we can regenerate body parts such as blood vessels, hearts and livers."

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