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New B-PHOT spin-off in 3D bioprinting and biotechnology launched


With the signing of an exclusive licensing deal, BIO INX becomes the latest spin-off from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)and Ghent University (UGent). Founded by CEO and former B-PHOT PhD researcher Jasper Van Hoorick, BIO INX is working on developing organic inks to produce human “spare parts” with the help of 3D printers. "The revolutionary company reinforces Flanders as a world leader in 3D bioprinting and biotechnology", says B-PHOT Research Director Hugo Thienpont.

At a time when people are living longer, the human body can’t always keep up. BIO INX focuses on the continuing progress of medicine, in particular the Healthcare 4.0 era. This combines advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analysis and 3D printing to improve healthcare and make it more efficient. The mission of BIO INX is to make a significant contribution to the 3D bioprinting puzzle through high-performance standardised materials. “We aim to achieve this through developing bio-inks, eventually enabling the printing of organs using the body’s own cells,” says Van Hoorick. “We also want to offer high-quality alternatives to animal testing in drug development.”

The foundations for BIO INX were laid during a joint PhD research project between B-PHOT Brussels Photonics at VUB and the Polymer Chemistry and Biomaterials group (PBM) at UGent. During his PhD on the regeneration of corneas, Van Hoorick developed a new vision for the development of biocompatible materials that can be created using laser-based high-resolution 3D printing. He received the Solvay Award in 2020 for this work.

Thanks to a VLAIO innovation mandate he became a postdoctoral researcher at UGent, where he followed a pathway in the European project ACTPHAST4Researchers. This project, which continued as PhotonHub Europe, gives companies and researchers access to advanced technology platforms in photonics. B-PHOT and PBM supported him in the development of materials for high-resolution 3D bioprinting. The ACTPHAST track led to the development of HYDROBIO INX X400, an ink that allows the printing of living cells at micrometre resolution and is being marketed internationally by Nanoscribe, the market leader in high-resolution 3D printing equipment.

"The university is pre-eminently the place where cross-fertilization between different disciplines leads to disruptive ideas and innovation, which is essential to stimulate economic growth", says B-PHOT Director and VUB Vice Rector for Innovation and Valorisation Hugo Thienpont. "With spin-offs, the technology is an essential factor, but even more important is the team. The revolutionary spin-off BIO INX reinforces Flanders as a world leader in 3D bioprinting and biotechnology."