When we have the opportunity to invest in a company that can truly improve and saves lives, it gives venture an added dimension of impact. The lack of human organs for those in need of transplants is one of those incredibly difficult problems to solve – the type of problem that demands innovation in multiple domains to provide a practical solution.
As of August 2017, there were more than 116,000 people on the national transplant waitlist. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 230 people die from liver and kidney disease each day in the U.S.
Prellis Biologics, a new biotech startup we’re thrilled to fund, is looking to fundamentally challenge and change this resource scarcity with its breakthrough approach that will allow for 3D printing of functional human tissue and eventually whole organs.
The laser light-printed tissue could be used to test drugs, produce human antibodies for pharmaceutical research and eventually create viable organs complete with vasculature.
Here, cell-containing capillary structures are 3D-printed using Prellis Biologics’
Prellis Co-Founders Melanie Matheu and Noelle Huskey Mullin join us from biotech accelerator IndieBio. Melanie has 15 years of experience in specialized laser microscopy, immunology and biophysics, giving her a unique edge in attempting such a multi-dimensional technological challenge.
Noelle has more than 10 years of experience in her field, also with a strong track record of grant and fellowship awards. She is currently finishing her post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford and has a doctorate in stem cell and tumor biology from UCSF.
The technology this duo is pioneering is truly compelling and elegant. Learning from their unique combination of science, technology and engineering is like watching masters of their craft manipulate a multi-dimensional puzzle into alignment. It is exhilarating and gives us a glimpse of a better future for all of us.
In biology, there are still far more ‘unknowns’ than ‘knowns’ and new approaches like that of Prellis Biologics, which potentially tilt that balance, represent a truly unique opportunity for us.
Welcome to the True community, Melanie and Noelle!