BICO; Combining Life Sciences Options to Additional Human Well being

insights from tradeHéctor MartínezCTOBICO

As a part of our SLAS Europe 2022 protection, we communicate to Héctor Martínez, CTO of BICO, in regards to the know-how and providers they provide inside life sciences analysis and the way they’re utilizing science to cut back organ shortages and additional human well being.

Please are you able to introduce your self and inform us what impressed your profession into the life sciences?

I’m Héctor Martínez, CTO and co-founder of BICO. My background is in engineering. I like engineering, and I got here into the sphere many, a few years in the past. I got here into the biomed area about 12 years in the past and fell in love with the alternatives and prospects. My co-founder, Erik Gatenholm, and I based BICO collectively six years in the past.

You’re at present the CTO of BICO, an organization consisting of 14 subsidiaries masking varied areas of life sciences. Are you able to inform us extra about why BICO was based and what a few of your core values are?

BICO was based with the imaginative and prescient of decreasing the organ scarcity interval. We noticed that we might make a contribution in that area. We’re very dedicated to that imaginative and prescient. We’re additionally very a lot dedicated to decreasing or rushing up drug improvement. Proper now, the cycles of creating a drug are just too lengthy. We consider we are able to make a distinction, and we’re keen about contributing to that.

That is one thing that will probably be carried out in our lifetimes, which is the type of purpose or mission I need to be a part of: I need to dedicate my life to one thing greater than myself.

Drug Discovery

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At BICO, you additionally concentrate on combining a number of areas of science corresponding to synthetic intelligence (AI) and genomics to additional human well being. How essential is taking a multidisciplinary strategy to analysis? What benefits does this have?

It has been on the core of what we do. All through BICO, in case you take a look at each single one of many firms we have now, it’s all a mixture of physics and biology. It’s both a mixture of synthetic intelligence with biology or a mixture of fabric sciences with biology. Utilizing know-how or engineering robotics for an utility in biology is one other method during which fields will be mixed.

Although, after all, every area could be very thrilling in itself, we select to mix the 2 as a result of we all know that there’s a lot of house that’s open to innovation. As an organization with near 1300 colleagues, we all know we are able to make an incredible affect by specializing in these intersections.

We love working on the intersections, and significantly the intersection the place biology meets know-how is a dynamic and thrilling space to be in.

CELLINK, a BICO firm launched in 2016, is accountable for creating the world’s first common bioink. How did you create this bioink, and the way did its creation result in breakthroughs in varied analysis areas, together with drug improvement and tissue engineering?

That could be a very thrilling story, as that was our first product. When Eric and I began the corporate, we had this imaginative and prescient of decreasing the organ scarcity, and we thought that bioprinting was an incredible software and the know-how might be used for that.  

In 2016, after we launched this product to the market, it was a bio-ink that allowed scientists to carry human tissues into organs. That was a creation that got here from my Ph.D. in Gutenberg, Sweden, on the Chalmers College of Expertise: I labored carefully with my professor on that know-how, and it basically turned our first product. Eric and I commercialized the product and introduced it to market, the place this complete image began to emerge.

That is CELLINK

With over 14 subsidiaries, you’re employed in a wide range of life sciences fields and have many merchandise. Regardless of your huge portfolio of firms, what else makes BICO distinctive?

I believe what makes BICO distinctive is primarily the those that we have now managed to draw. We’re all very keen about what we do. In fact, although there could also be many firms that may say that, we’re of the opinion that while you take a look at what we as colleagues have achieved in such a short while, it’s distinctive and fairly exceptional.

We like to maneuver quick. I believe that is among the distinctive options of BICO: after we see a possibility, we go for it full-heartedly, and we get the job carried out.

Regardless of elevated consideration lately, additional highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the drug improvement sector nonetheless faces nice hurdles in accelerating analysis into new therapeutics. What do you consider to be a few of the greatest challenges the drug discovery sector faces, and the way are BICO making an attempt to beat these?

There are a lot of challenges concerned. In fact, it’s onerous to get into the main points, however one of many greater challenges is the duty of bringing extra automation – particularly built-in automation – into processes the place there are a variety of research taking place within the labs.

That is the place we consider we are able to make a big contribution. A second level is combining the automation, digitalizing the lab, and miniaturizing the experiments to perform extra experiments with fewer sources. There are just a few areas the place we need to work carefully with our colleagues within the pharmaceutical area to advance drug improvement. I might say that automation, digitalization, and miniaturization are the fields during which we are able to greatest contribute and the place we consider there’s a nice want.

Europe

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As a global firm with workplaces in each the US and Europe, how essential of a job do you consider Europe performs throughout the acceleration of the life sciences trade?

Merely put, the function of Europe is big. As an illustration, in case you take a look at the know-how stemming from Europe, there are some unbelievable and even lovely applied sciences obtainable in the marketplace at the moment as a result of there may be an excessive amount of funding that reaches these universities. There’s a variety of curiosity in working with the newest and best.

All these mixed means that you’ve got an excessive amount of analysis taking place, making its method to new firms, after which these applied sciences finally attain the trade. I strongly consider that Europe is doing a superb job in rising the variety of improvements introduced ahead.

Europe can also be doing a superb job selling the startups which are making a distinction. We’re very grateful that we have now been awarded just a few European grants, which have resulted in various merchandise which are obtainable in the marketplace at the moment. Whether or not it’s a product or a service, we have now been in a position to remodel European funding and switch that right into a product, which is phenomenal. Our group and people who profit from our merchandise are very grateful – to the establishments who granted us the funding and to the European taxpayer, with out whom this essential work couldn’t happen.

All through Europe, many nations are main in life sciences. The UK, as an example, has a formidable file when it comes to what they’ve been in a position to do within the life sciences. Small cities like Cambridge have generated wonderful applied sciences from such a small hub, and there are a lot of extra all through Europe. Significantly for us as a global firm, we have now entry to many extraordinarily proficient people.

What recommendation would you give to somebody trying to begin an organization throughout the life sciences however is not sure of the place to begin? How essential is discovering a singular house in a market when competing in opposition to well-established firms and organizations?

There is no such thing as a one piece of recommendation, however as Eric typically says: “You do not have to be nice to begin, however it’s a must to begin to be nice.” I believe, in a phrase, it’s important to be daring. There are a variety of improvements stemming from academia which are wanted within the trade. To place it one other method, I encourage innovators and entrepreneurs to consider of their concepts.

One other massive focus for BICO is regarding sustainability, with you being an official signatory of the UN International Compact Sustainability Improvement Objectives (SDGs) and the Ten Ideas of the United Nations International Compact. How essential is sustainability to BICO, and the way does your sustainability agenda launched in 2021 assist obtain the SDGs?

Sustainability is important. We’re all a part of a much bigger image. That’s the framework during which we need to function. We consider there may be a variety of innovation and a variety of house for innovating new applied sciences and discovering new methods of doing issues which are returning to the ethos of doing extra with much less. This idea is usually a guiding pressure: we are able to have an effect on decreasing the variety of plastics used, decreasing the variety of chemical substances used, and nonetheless reaching nice outcomes. That’s how we take a look at our work; within the greater scheme of issues, there should be concord amongst individuals, merchandise, and the planet.

SDGs

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BICO’s subsidiaries have varied applied sciences obtainable inside life sciences, with over 25,000 at present being utilized in analysis worldwide. How has know-how superior life sciences analysis over the past decade, and the way important will know-how be in persevering with innovation within the area? Are there any explicit areas you’re excited to see evolve?

During the last decade, life sciences has advanced quickly and vastly in areas the place we have now seen an incredible shift. Particularly in biology stem, cell analysis, most cancers analysis, and total drug improvement, there have been dramatic shifts and an excessive amount of progress. We’ve got seen a shift from using 2D cell tradition fashions into 3D cell tradition fashions, which is sort of a big improvement.

We’re proud to be on the chopping fringe of our area, offering the applied sciences that may take our prospects in pharma or academia from lastly transitioning from 2D cell cultures to 3D cell cultures. There are a number of applied sciences we are able to supply to assist them in that transition. As one instance, I can see pharma utilizing a number of tissues related in microfluidic units or organ-on-chip techniques the place a whole scientific trial will be carried out on a dish. I’m very, very enthusiastic about that.

One other factor is accelerating drug improvement, and the end result of that’s that you’ve got much less waste, doubtlessly even changing animal fashions utterly. Proper now, the purpose is to cut back as a lot as doable. We’re already doing that: in 2021, we estimated that we saved roughly 95,000 animal lives simply in a single yr by offering these different fashions to animal research. That’s another excuse we’re so excited in regards to the future and the contribution that we’re making towards science and animal welfare.

Merely put, we’re ecstatic in regards to the progress we have now made – which has been made doable because of the nice colleagues we have now on board. Good individuals make good merchandise.

What do you consider the way forward for the life sciences to seem like? Are you hopeful that we are going to see individuals residing higher and more healthy lives with continued innovation, collaboration, and applied sciences? What would this imply for international well being?

Globally, sufferers have gotten increasingly conscious of their well being. I additionally notice a shift from reactive healthcare into proactive healthcare, during which many individuals are taking steps to watch all phases of their well being.

Sufferers and other people can take preventive measures to make it possible for we’re in charge of our well being. So all of those applied sciences we see right here at SLAS are pointing in that path. I consider we’re all contributing in the direction of a brighter, more healthy future the place sufferers have extra management over their well being.

Creating the Way forward for Medication

What’s subsequent for BICO? The place can individuals go to maintain up-to-date along with your newest information and tasks?

Please go to us on-line at BICO.com. If you wish to study extra about a few of the thrilling work that we’re at present doing, please be at liberty to go to BICO.com/workflows, the place we’re highlighting some actually cool functions that are fascinating for trade consultants or pharma healthcare nerds like myself.

About Héctor Martínez

From Mexico, to the US to Sweden, Dr. Héctor Martínez has left his mark across the globe. As CTO and Co-Founding father of CELLINK, Héctor has contributed along with his ardour in combining engineering and biology to drive CELLINK to the place it’s at the moment. He acquired his doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from Chalmers College of Expertise and has 10+ years of expertise in biomaterials, tissue engineering and 3D bioprinting applied sciences.Héctor Martínez

He obtained a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Texas at Arlington and M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Chalmers College of Expertise in Sweden. Héctor’s dream is to translate CELLINK’s know-how to the drug discovery, improvement and manufacturing processes and in the end to the clinic – to carry higher healthcare remedies to sufferers in want.

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