Ed Bedford 5:30 p.m., May 27
Playboy Enterprises Inc. Gives $40 Million Grant to Local Biotech Orgonovo to Speed Production of "Organ Printer"
"We believe this product has the potential to enhance the lives of millions of men, if you know what we mean."
FEVERISHLY TRACKING THIS STORY FOR, UM, A FRIEND - Local biotech Organovo has secured $40 million in venture capital funding from Playboy Enterprises, Inc. for its NovoGen “bioprinting” process. The technology, it’s hoped, will allow scientists to manufacture three-dimensional body parts.
"'Three-dimensional means sticky-outy, right?'" explains Playboy CEO Buck Manning. "I would think the reason for our interest would be obvious. When I read about this project, my first thought was, 'This could be huge. The potential for demographic penetration is astonishing - it could really fill a huge hole in the market.'"
“Building or enlarging human organs cell-by-cell was considered science fiction not that long ago," says Orgonovo head of research Helmut Glansputter. "Through this clever combination of technology and science we have helped Organovo develop an instrument that will improve people's lives in very salient ways."
Experts warn that it could be 20 years or more until bioprinting is able to produce a fully functional organ such as a liver or a lung. But human testing of other, less complicated body parts could begin as soon as five years from now. "It really is a brave new world," marveled Manning.