3D Bioprinting: Tissue Transplants From Your Home PC?

14 | By Michael A. Robinson

Imagine a future in which anyone needing a transplant could just create the needed tissue on their home printer.

That day hasn’t arrived yet … but it’s getting closer all the time.

A partnership between a global software firm and an early-stage biotech player is already promising to transform the field of medical transplants.

And for many patients, that day can’t get here soon enough.

Each year here in the U.S. alone more than a million people need some type of new tissue. We’re taking everything from heart valves, to corneas for the eyes, to entire hearts and kidneys.

Though we’ve made huge strides in transplant technology, the sheer number of transplant candidates remains huge – resulting in a bottleneck that’s all too often fatal. Each year, more than 6,500 people die while waiting for a donated organ – the equivalent of 18 a day.

In our advanced age of medicine, that’s 18 too many.

In the very near future, however, doctors may simply “print” the tissues or organs you need to regain your good health. That’s the ultimate goal of a cutting-edge field known as 3D “bioprinting.”

Bioprinting is shaping up as one of the next big miracles of medicine – and one of the next big profit plays in biotechnology.

The bioprinting initiative has gained enormous momentum because of a new and very important strategic alliance. The project involves one of the world’s most respected software leaders and an early-stage biotech firm whose stock is on fire.

With a market cap of nearly $9 billion, Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK) remains the world leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.

Talk about accolades: The last 17 Academy Award winners for best visual effects all relied on Autodesk software to demonstrate their ideas.

These guys know quality when they see it.

And that’s a good thing for investors because Organovo Holdings Inc. (OTC: ONVO) has become the “go-to” company in the bioprinting world. Its success at making human tissue from scratch has granted the firm the kind of global cachet no company could afford to pay for.

Consider that this tiny outfit made MIT Technology Review’s list of 50 “most innovative companies” for 2012. To get that honor, it soared past thousands of other tech firms to join the ranks of such leaders as Apple, Google and Intel.

Not bad for a company with a mere $220 million market cap…

Of course, it’s not every day someone can grow heart tissue from cells and get the material to beat like the real thing. It also has bio-printed arteries from cells it got from human donors.

This is the kind of cutting-edge technology that defines the Era of Radical Change. And the Autodesk-Organovo pact is the kind of business deal we want to watch as investors.

We’re talking about the marriage of an Old Guard player with a firm that can truly change the world as we know it – earning investors windfall profits in the process.

Organovo may be the smaller firm, but in the realm of stock profits it’s the David that is easily beating Goliath. In the past year, Organovo’s stock has gained roughly 225%. Autodesk returned just 0.75%.

Stock profits aside, I believe this team is a natural fit. Autodesk makes the best 3D software money can buy and Organovo is pioneering what is easily the world’s most interesting 3D printing application.

Technically speaking, 3D printers don’t actually “print” an object. Instead, you make things like auto parts or human jaws by repeatedly adding very thin layers of special materials held together by a binding agent.

Instead of using plastics or metals to print products, Organovo relies on human cells. They become living tissue as successive small layers are laid on top of each other, and the whole assembly is built on a three-dimensional structure.

If nothing else, it’s much safer than today’s organ transplants. That’s because the tissue is created from the patient’s own genetic matter. This makes them precise matches for the tissue or organs they replace, so there’s little chance of rejection.

Clearly, the world is beating a path to Organovo’s door. And for a simple reason – its NovoGen MMX Bioprinter remains the world’s only commercial unit that’s proven itself capable of creating tissue.

Autodesk brings top-flight software to the alliance. It will be used to control Organovo’s machines, yielding a much higher level of quality in the process. And Autodesk’s stamp of approval will open hundreds of new doors for Organovo.

And tissue transplants aren’t the only opportunity for this biotech duo.

Because Organovo can already produce tissue samples, an even bigger business opportunity in the near term figures to be drug discovery.

You see, drug firms often need a decade or more and spend as much as $1 billion to get new products to market.

By printing human tissue on demand, however, companies may be able to accelerate the development process. If nothing else, these drug-development firms will have vastly more reliable data far before they decide if they want to invest heavily in clinical trials.

Now you know why Organovo has already received the backing of Big Pharma heavyweight Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE). The two firms are collaborating on drug research.

So even though Organovo’s stock remains volatile, the firm already has some key ingredients for success in place. This is the type of company and investing opportunity that we are looking for in the Era of Radical Change.

Don’t worry if this microcap doesn’t appeal to you. I’ll soon be telling you about three more ways to play the boom in 3D printing.

And these are three firms I haven’t told you about in the past.

So stayed tuned…


[Editor’s Note: I want you to know that we’ve been exceptionally pleased by the big response we’ve been seeing to my recent ERC columns. We’re answering a lot of your queries immediately, and are gathering others together for the Q&A columns that I now intend to publish on a more regular basis. So by all means please continue to leave your comments below, or write to me at We read everything you send …]

14 Responses to 3D Bioprinting: Tissue Transplants From Your Home PC?

    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Alphonse,

      Thanks for the nice comment. We certainly try to keep you guys abreast of important tech trends.



  1. FRED SHAPIRO says:


  2. Michael Tillman says:

    I have read a lot of articles and news letters on this subject. but none of them give the info that you did in this news letter.


    • Michael Robinson says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Glad you found the article informative.



  3. Darryl says:

    Most of this information was published by a leading stock market report on Dec. 18, 2012. That is 2 months and a week ago. ONVO stock, in that period, has gone from $2.15 to almost $6.00.

    What can I say more.


    • William Patalon III says:

      Darryl …

      And as you know — or should know — micro caps like this will often get a run after the initial articles get published, or after they are “touted” in tip sheets and the like. And most often they drop back once the excitement moderates.

      But here’s the thing …. and is the key point that you seem to be missing here.

      Michael’s point …. indeed, the very essence of his Era of Radical Change service …. is that we’re right now standing at the very beginning of a huge new opportunity.

      This is the top of the first inning in an investing ballgame that’s slated to go at least nine innings … and likely more. There will be many, many opportunities — and having watched Michael in action, I know that he’ll make sure that his readers get into the best of the best … over and over and over again.

      Michael was one of the very first investment writers to fully understand and tell his readers about 3D printing technology … so the writers who are chronicling it now are “me too” followers.

      In his “Radical Technology Profits” service, I’ve seen the big winners he’s identified … and he’s made some remarkable calls for the subscribers of my own Private Briefing advisory service.

      Darryl, I laud you for having an opinion and for taking the time to actually post it. I wish more folks were like that.

      And please know that these comments aren’t intended as a criticism … If they come across as a defense of Michael, well, that’s because they are. I feel that your comment was made in isolation, first by not being reflective of how micro caps tend to react …. and second by looking at an incomplete element of a single point … not including the aforementioned reality … and by ignoring Michael’s quite-remarkable track record … which I’ve been fortunate enough to witness, and even chronicle, first hand.

      I just thought it was important to make that known.

      Respectfully yours;

      William Patalon III
      Executive Editor
      Money Morning/Private Briefing

      • William Patalon III says:

        BTW, Darryl ….. Subscribers to Michael’s RTP service made 67% on ONVO in eight weeks. He has to hold some of his recommendatiosn back for his paid subscribers. Remember, ERC is free. And as someone who’s a longtime veteran of the financial publishing industry, I’ve quite frankly been amazed at the number of recommendations that Michael has provided here, as well as at the time that I know he invests in this service.

        There’s only one conclusion to draw …. he very much cares about his ERC readers. And I know this to be true, for I hold conferences with him and all of our other experts multiple times a week …. he searches for the best material he can find for the recipients of the ERC newsletter.

        William Patalon III
        Exec. Editor
        Money Morning & Private Briefing

  4. Mike says:

    This is great news , obviously the next step is whole organisms ,meaning I could print some spare me’s – a few work ones a weekend one that could be fixed up and rebuilt through the week it’s perfect!! and of course a backup me in case of mishaps ,,… immortality!!!!

    • William Patalon III says:

      Mike ….

      From your comments, we sincerely hope you’re not considering a personal re-enactment of the Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day.”

      Just kidding.

      I did want to respond to your note and thank you personally for taking the time to post. Michael greatly appreciates the enthusiastic support that he’s been getting since launching ERC. Don’t hesitate to continue with your posts (especially given your wit, which we really do appreciate very much). And don’t hesitate to let us know if you have questions, or suggestions of things you’d like to see.

      I tell that to all Michael’s readers, but thought I’d take the opportunity to do so again with you.

      Regards … and thanks!

      William Patalon III
      Executive Editor
      Money Morning & Private Briefing

  5. gary bill says:

    How feasible is it to make plant matter for food, or steaks for meat? I could see how that direction could be even greater than the medical direction.

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