Organoids (mini-organs) are small 3-D bundles of cells that mimic functionality of tissues. Compared to 2D culture, they more closely model tissue function. Organoids are widely seen as the future of 3D cell culture, and are transforming healthcare by enabling more accurate prediction of the potential of new drugs. However, with a lack of optimal 3D scaffolds, which are used to support the 3D structure, the use of organoids is limited. The most widely used scaffold currently used is an undefined extract of mouse tumour cells.
Noviocell’s aim is to create a fully defined hydrogel that will be the first 3D platform to create a truly biomimetic cellular microenvironment. Noviocell’s hydrogel technology, first reported in Nature, is chemically synthetic, can be fine-tuned to modulate elasticity and can rapidly transition from a liquid to a solid simply by increasing temperature. Noviocell’s polyisocyanopeptide (PIC) hydrogel technology is being developed for a wide variety of applications. It uniquely perform like collagen (natural biomaterial, excellent biomimetic of extracellular matrix) and can be modified to represent cellular environments of varying stiffness. Because of its fully reversibility (when changing the temperature), cells can be easy recovered and downstream processing after culturing is straightforward (e.g. easy to image cells). Furthermore, they can be easily functionalised to meet the needs of every cell type and of every researcher, by adding peptide sequences (e.g. RGD peptide for better cell adhesion) or growth factors and finally, it is synthetic with unique biocompatibility and therefore can be used for in vivo purposes (e.g. regenerative medicine).
During the early stage development plan (vroege fase plan), Noviocell aims to provide solid ‘proof of concept’ data through a) investigating and modifying the PIC hydrogel for its use with a range of cell types and b) externally validate the superiority of PIC hydrogel over competitive approaches for culturing stem cells and/or organoids.