Published on November 5, 2016
1. Ruchica Kumar Novocus Legal LLP 11/5/2016 3-D Bioprinter: Alternative to Animal Testing
2. PATENT PENDING 3-D BIOPRINTER TO MAKE ANIMAL TESTING A THING OF PAST INTRODUCTION Purpose of this document is to provide readers with a glimpse of what patenting of nanotechnology inventions can do for advancement of technology. How innovations assist in developing tools that not only have diverse applications, but also severely reduce budgets required for developing and marking those applications. We have compiled this document from reported facts and our sources are also given herein. This document describes a technology for bioprinting and then moves onto describing one application of the technology. We firmly believe that this would just be the beginning and there would be many more applications possible of the technique described herein. BACKGROUND Whenever a new 3D printer enters the market, it’s usually surrounded by lofty claims and marketing buzzwords declaring why this 3D printer is the 3D printer that will change the industry for good. Some 3D printer models or even individual features do manage to live up to their claims, at least for a while, but they are few and far between. The latest 3D printer to boldly announce its industry-changing potential is the Aether 1, a 3D bioprinter release few months ago that promises to “completely revolutionize bioprinting, food printing, art, and prototyping” thanks to the most advanced and most affordable 3D printing technologies available anywhere on the market. While it’s definitely too early to say whether those claims hold any merit, the Aether 1’s features and technologies surely deserve a closer look. The Aether 1 3D printer was developed by Ryan Ranks and Eric Bennett of San Francisco- based technology company Aether. Though seemingly new to the 3D printing scene, the company’s core belief is that human potential is defined by the tools we use, and thus more versatile, powerful tools, when put into the hands of innovative individuals, can lead to limitless possibilities. “With so much at stake, Aether was founded not just as a business, but
3. as a mission,” explains the company. “Our goal was to build the most capable and easiest to use bioprinter ever created, and instead of treating this incredible technology as ‘business as usual,’ selling it for the highest possible price, we would sell it for the lowest possible price.” The result is a sub-$9,000 3D bioprinter that claims to dramatically outperform top-of-the- line $250,000+ 3D bioprinters on the market. To explain how this is possible, the company explains that it has combined “twelve of the most cutting edge machines on Earth” into a single desktop device. The Aether 1 is a 8-syringe 3D bioprinter with a dual-Bowden FFF extruder, a laser-assisted bioprinter, laser engraver, CNC milling machine, UV-curing 3D printer, 400F degree chocolate/food printer, 3D electronics printer, 4,000 Hz droplet-jetting printer, universal modular fabrication device. On top of all of that, it is capable of full-colour robotic drawing, painting and calligraphy, and can recreate photo-realistic images thanks to a high-res camera.
4. Although, specification given above are way beyond comprehension for price range mentioned, it has been made possible thanks to advances in 3D printing technology as well as new patent-pending innovations. Some of the Aether 1 3D bioprinter’s features include a Machine Vision powered Automatic Air Pressure Calibration System that eliminates manual calibration; the ability to automatically retract inactive syringes and tools, Automatic Stage Levelling with optical sensor, and Dual Automatic Nozzle Cleaning and Unclogging stations; Optional high- resolution motors capable of reaching 0.4 nm Z axis resolution, and much more. In terms of 3D printing alone, its main feature is perhaps the multitude of extruders available: 8 pneumatic syringe extruders (with retraction system), 2 FFF hot end filament extruders, and a heated glass syringe extruder. For 3D bioprinting as well as 3D food printing and 3D printed art, this multi-material capability is paramount. According to the developers, it is also the only 3D bioprinter to offer syringe extrusion, LAB, and droplet jetting in a single machine. Looking at its specs, the Aether 1 3D printer’s dimensions are 610 x 432 x 381 mm, with a max build size of 315 x 228 x 132 mm. It offers 0.4 nanometre resolution on the Z axis, 10 manometer resolution on the XY axis, and layer heights of 50 microns. It comes in an anodized
5. aluminium and glass sealed exterior with a full-colour LED lighting system and Wi-Fi-enabled 7-inch 480p touchscreen display. All of these features and more have the developers quite confident in the Aether 1’s ability to “absolutely redefine what users can do with a 3D printer.” "Aether 1 is the most versatile tool ever created. There's never been anything like this before,” said Franks, CEO of Aether. “Aether 1 is over 10 years ahead of what other companies are developing, but we're selling it at an extremely low price to get it into the hands of as many innovators as possible. We think what the early innovators are going to make with Aether 1 is going to be absolutely incredible. Imagine a single machine that can make beautiful art in entirely new ways, turn photos into paintings and sculptures, even turn food into a work of art, that can also be used to save lives, conduct critical research, and pursue the integration of biology and electronics. People will use this to do big things.” Though no official price or release date has been revealed, Aether has said that the Aether 1 3D printer will cost below $9,000, making it one of the most affordable 3D bioprinters on the market. The company will be launching a file-sharing website designed for multi-material and multi-fabrication type files in April 2016, and has plans to donate several beta units to selected schools, researchers, universities, chefs, artists and more in May 2016. Actual retail units will be available by the second half of 2016. USE OF THIS 3-D PRINTER FOR ANIMAL TESTING Previous section of this document mentioned specifications, features and technical details about Aether 3-D printeri. This printer has recently been used for bioprinting of cells, thereby eliminating need for animal testing in any kind of scientific researchii. To many people, medical testing on animals is a necessary evil – but finding an alternative is obviously an infinitely better alternative. What does this have to do with 3D printing? Well, start-up Aether mentioned above has just entered a 3D bioprinting collaboration with the Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence at Stanford University to 3D print tissue cells that will
6. serve as test models for experimental drugs – the first step towards removing the need for animal testing altogether. Key in this process is Aether’s revolutionary Aether 1 3D bioprinter, which became available as a beta unit back in September. Aether itself is a San Francisco-based tech start-up that has been working on a 3D printer that is, in their own words, “light years ahead of other 3D bioprinters on the market.” Their $9,000 Aether 1 offers the biofabrication potential usually found on hardware costing around a quarter of a million dollars, and has therefore become a prime target for researchers from many of the world’s top universities and government- backed institutions. Currently going through a period of massive growth, Aether is working towards shipping their Aether 1 beta units as we speak. This 3D printer stands out for its patent-pending biomaterial 3D printing system, involving up two FDM filament extruders, eight syringe extruders, and 14 droplet jet extruders in a single 3D printing system. “Critically, Aether 1 has never-before-seen features like Machine Vision based fully Automatic Air Pressure Calibration, fully Automatic Stage-Leveling, Sealed Anodized Aluminium and Glass Exterior, and more,” its developers say. It is, in short, powerful enough to provide a huge boost to 3D bioprinting efforts everywhere, and that is exactly what a team of Stanford researchers are hoping for. Once shipped, Aether will provide the university’s Centre for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence with multiple Aether 1 beta units, where they will support an ongoing silico modelling study. Specifically, they will be used to validate simulation models featuring virtual cells, tissues, and organs. These models are being developed to provide a viable alternative to animal testing, but will need actual tissue material to be validated. If successful, the Aether 1 can thus facilitate a huge step forward towards animal-free testing. Incidentally, this is also a goal Aether has been supporting for a long time, and they therefore see this Stanford collaboration as a huge medical opportunity. The Centre for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence will be the first Stanford research facility at to receive an Aether 1 beta unit, though other Stanford facilities have already shown interest as well. If necessary, Aether will also be actively involved in the research by developing engineering solutions to unforeseen obstacles. “We were very excited to have one of the most incredible
7. research centres on Earth express an interest in working with our soon-to-be-released Aether 1 Bioprinter. It was fantastic to learn they specifically wanted to use Aether 1 to support research involving computer simulation models which may simulate the human body better than the current animal model,” says Aether CEO Ryan Franks. “This was perfectly aligned with Aether’s mission to reduce and eliminate animal testing. This would of course be better ethically, but may also dramatically improve the speed of drug and therapy discovery, and make human clinical trials safer.” i http://www.3ders.org/articles/20160321-new-aether-1-3d-multi-extruder-bioprinter-boldly-announces-its- arrival.html ii http://www.3ders.org/articles/20161104-aether-to-support-stanford-3d-bioprinting-efforts-to-make- animal-testing-a-thing-of-the-past.html
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