Jasper Van Hoorick

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The milestone of Jasper Van Hoorick

Jasper Van Hoorick’s company BIO INX is a global player in 3D bioprinting. It offers materials for 3D bioprinting that could be an alternative to animal testing, and it aspires to one day print functional organs. Jasper, who co-founded BIO INX fresh out of his PhD, has always been driven by the desire to make a real impact. “I don’t want to just look on from the sidelines.”

Develops inks that will save lives

BIO INX is making great strides in developing bioinks, materials which enable 3D cellular tissue printing. If you would compare 3D bioprinting to building a wall, then the cells are the bricks and the bioink is the cement holding them together. Jasper: “My dream is to one day be able to print organs, so we no longer need donors. We’re not quite there yet, but our bioinks can already be used to print tissues for drug testing, and I am confident they will ultimately replace animal testing.

“My dream is to one day be able to print organs, so we no longer need donors.”

Jasper Van Hoorick

Into outer space

BIO INX is the first and only company in the world to successfully develop an ink that can be used to print cells at an extremely high resolution. “Natural tissue has a highly complex structure,” Jasper explains, “and most 3D printing technologies are not accurate enough to mimic it. But with our ink, you can print down to a thousandth of a millimetre – a significant milestone for our company.”

BIO INX is the first and only company in the world to successfully develop an ink that can be used to print cells at an extremely high resolution.

The next milestone is already around the corner, as Jasper and his team are collaborating with four other Flemish companies on an artificial miniature heart set that will embark on a space journey in 2025. Jasper clarifies: “Many heart diseases typically manifest later in life. However, it’s impractical to print new, youthful tissue, wait for 30 years, and then conduct drug trials. We’ve learned from astronauts that tissues age in space, so we intend for our test heart to undergo the same aging process by sending it into space.”

Crucial encounters

“The reason for starting BIO INX is that we want to bridge the gap between academic research and practical application,” Jasper continues. “We want to make a real impact rather than looking on from the sidelines, waiting for change to happen. Conferences help us meet the right people to collaborate with and have paved the way for us to introduce our inks to the market. Without those crucial encounters, the company would never have taken flight.”

“Without those crucial conference encounters, BIO INX would never have taken flight."

Even today, conferences play a pivotal role in BIO INX's journey. “Most of our customers know us through conferences. Additionally, our participation in various scientific projects is often a result of the connections we forge at these events. Conferences also provide valuable insights into the latest trends, guiding our focus. It's vital for our customers to tell us what issues are holding them back, so that we can continue to improve our inks.”

“As for me, virtual conferences don't quite measure up, mainly because the heart of conferences lies in the discussions you have afterwards. That's where the real deals are made. It's not just about what people or companies are doing, it’s about forging that personal connection. And that is something you can sense best when you meet in person.”

Schouwburg Kortrijk - (c) Mark Depaepe

What’s your milestone?

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