Philadelphia-based BioBots has brought bioprinting to a smaller, more affordable scale.
June 6, 2016 | Inc Magazine by Kevin J. Ryan
Danny Cabrera has been defying the odds all his life. When he was a 10-year-old living in Cuba, Cabrera’s family had dreams of immigrating to America. His father won a visa lottery to travel to the U.S., and the Cabreras set sail for Miami and soon settled in.
As an 18-year-old at Miami Dade College, he had Ivy League ambitions. So he applied to the University of Pennsylvania and was accepted as a double major in computer science and biology.
At Penn, he wanted to find a way to manipulate biology and build living things from scratch. He soon met Ricardo Solorzano, another biology major from Miami, and the two got to work building a 3-D bioprinter.
Now, Cabrera and Solorzano are the co-founders of BioBots, a startup that creates desktop 3-D printers that can produce living tissue. The entrepreneurs used existing 3-D printing components that were primarily meant for manufacturing plastics and metals and used them to build a bioprinter. The result is a bioprinter far less expensive than most of its competitors: At $10,000, BioBots products are accessible to labs that can’t afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars 3-D printers usually cost. And while most bioprinters can take up entire rooms and have many moving parts, BioBots builds machines about the size of a microwave.
“Imagine a world where scientists could design living things with their laptops and print them on their desktops,” says Cabrera. “That’s what got us really going.” …