Additive printing for Cell-Based Analysis

An EU Horizon 2020 Project: H2020-SMEINST-2-2015 (NMP25-2015)


SME Instrument Phase 2 project ANAPRINT will produce commercially-exploitable technology that addresses a large, global market for human cell-based systems able to predict reliably the biological activity or biosafety of a range of materials.

AvantiCell Science Ltd (ACS), the sole project participant, will capture this opportunity by integrating and optimising fully-developed technologies which enable the scalable manufacturing of complex cell models. The models will be produced in formats widely accepted by pharmaceutical and healthcare-related industries as likely to predict the clinical potential or health benefit of test materials, ranging from small-molecule drugs to natural products, traditional medicines, food components and medical devices. Typically, these models comprise cells in 3-dimensional formats reflective of their tissue of origin. No means of scalable manufacture of these models presently exists, and their use is otherwise constrained by technical difficulty, cost and lack of reproducibility.

The ACS technical solution is to assemble cell models by additive printing; to control the cells’ locations by magnetic forces; to supply the models to customers as pre-assembled, frozen products. The ANAPRINT solution is unique, proprietary and highly positive-disruptive in its industrial sector.


Project Update: December 2016

Work  performed in the first project period identified printing parameters   giving optimal quality and throughput. This activity, conducted under two work packages, first established conditions for precision printing of bio-scaffold material and viable cells, and identified constraints on bio-scaffold printing speed and scalability of bio-scaffold manufacturing along with their technical solution. This work sets a  bench-mark of advantageous manufacturing performance, in terms of quantitative and architectural precision of cell model printing.

Throughout, protocols have been developed with anticipation of down-stream integration of cell cryopreservation into the manufacturing process: cryopreservation experiments tested utility of conditions suitable for incorporation into a scalable manufacturing process. Further, during the second work package, a series of experiments established working parameters across a hierarchy of cell-product architectures, from printed scaffold and culture medium presentation through to shipped-product packaging/containment. In this way, factors critical to the down-stream maturation of 3D cell models into customer-friendly products were identified, ensuring that further elaborations of the cell   models are de-risked in terms of their compatibility with the ultimate concept of a cryopreserved, short lead-time cell-based analysis product.


Project Update: October 2017

During the second year of the project, technology advancement has related to the establishment of printing protocols for our chosen bio-scaffold structure and its impact on cell model function. Structural integrity, cell viability and assay readout capability in 3D cultures have been standardised and the effect of molecular signals on the 3D model reported.  Cell based assays in 3D format have been designed and optimised and a panel of cytotoxic agents screened. In line with our ultimate goal of supplying the models to customers as pre-assembled frozen products, in-plate cryopreservation of cells grown in 2D and 3D has been significantly advanced.


Project Update: February 2019


ANAPRINT project officially ended.