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Cell culture company sees promise in making scaffolds for artificial organs

Fresh off supplying the scaffold for the world’s second-ever artificial trachea implant, Ohio State University spinoff Nanofiber Solutions is hoping to expand its work with artificial organs. The Columbus, Ohio-based company’s technology could be used to create scaffolds for a number of other types of hollow organs, such as intestines, blood vessels and kidneys, chief […]

Fresh off supplying the scaffold for the world’s second-ever artificial trachea implant, Ohio State University spinoff Nanofiber Solutions is hoping to expand its work with artificial organs.

The Columbus, Ohio-based company’s technology could be used to create scaffolds for a number of other types of hollow organs, such as intestines, blood vessels and kidneys, chief technology officer Jed Johnson said.

The company’s cell culture products use polymer nanofibers to more accurately simulate the 3-D structure of human tissue.

Nanofiber Solutions initially had planned to focus on the research market, selling flat plastic petri dishes filled with nanofibers because that market represented the “lowest-hanging fruit” that required the least regulation, Johnson said.

However, after the success and attention it’s enjoyed since the trachea transplant, Nanofiber Solutions is now looking for partner companies to help it grow its business in artificial organs, which represents a larger market than selling to research institutions. Partner companies would supply regulatory or clinical expertise, or investment capital and Nanofiber Solutions would provide the technology.

Here’s how Nanofiber Solutions works with artificial organs: It manufactures scaffolds in the shape of a human organ and those scaffolds are then seeded with a patient’s own stem cells. The scaffold is then placed in a culturing device for a few days and the patient’s tissue grows on it. The patient’s organ is then removed and the artificial organ that’s grown on the scaffold is implanted into the patient.

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The scaffolds are scheduled to be used in several other trachea transplants this year. The company’s technology has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but is able to be used in humans because of a humanitarian device exemption, Johnson said.

Nanofiber Solutions is hoping to close a series A round of investment between $2 million and $5 million this summer, Johnson said.

The company recently inked a distribution deal with Sigma-Aldrich, a major supplier of life sciences products.