3D Biomatrix Hopes To Break Into Drug Discovery Market With 3D Testing Devices

High-octane action movies and sci-fi thrillers are not the only images best viewed in 3D.

Just ask Laura Schrader, a onetime medical device consultant who recently joined 3D Biomatrix as its new CEO.

The Ann Arbor, MI-based startup, which spun off last year from the University of Michigan, is developing ways for drug researchers to test their therapies on cells with three dimensions. Scientists can better screen drug candidates on cells that offer a more realistic human response to potential therapies, Schrader says.

“Our cells exist in a 3D space, not in a 2D petri dish,” says Schrader, a former college basketball star and a member of the College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Explaining why she took the job, Schrader says 3D Biomatrix “seemed like it has the best legs to be successful for a while, to make the leap from spinout to a commercial entity. It’s a very exciting point in the company’s growth, moving out of the lab into the market.”

3D Biomatrix is the brainchild of founder Nicholas Kotov, a U-M chemistry professor who now serves as the company’s chief technical officer.

Kotov had created the world’s first artificial bone morrow that could grow stem cells. In his research, Kotov noted cells that exist in the pores of bone marrow needed to communicate with each other, which could only happen if they existed in three-dimensional space. That discovery also could explain why scientists have so far failed to grow stem cells in petri dishes.

Out of Kotov’s work came 3D Biomatrix’s first product, the Perfecta3D scaffolds, a network of artificial hydrogel spherical cavities scientists can use to grow stem cells.

But for now, Schrader says the startup’s best shot at generating revenue lies with its Perfecta Hanging Drop Plates, … Next Page »

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