Rising Tide Portfolio Company, Aspect Biosystems, Strikes $2.7 Billion Strategic Partnership with Novo Nordisk to Treat Diabetes and Obesity

Upfront payment of $75 Million, up to $2.6 Billion in milestone payments from collaboration, plus tiered royalties. 

By Brent MacDonald – Partner at Rising Tide

Aspect Biosystems (herewith “Aspect”) seeks to revolutionize drug development, personalized medicine, and regenerative medicine by becoming the global leader in 3D human tissue technology. Its disruptive 3D bioprinting platform technology can create live human tissue on demand and has the potential to shape every aspect of human health by enabling the creation of human tissues for medical research, therapeutic discovery, and regenerative medicine. The 80-person Company was spun out from two renowned research groups in engineering and medicine at the University of British Columbia.

The Vancouver, Canada-based company this week announced a collaboration, development, and license agreement with Novo Nordisk to develop bioprinted tissue therapeutics intended to replace, repair, or supplement biological functions within the body with the goal of bringing a new class of truly disease-modifying treatments for diabetes and obesity to market. The mission of Novo Nordisk, a preeminent worldwide healthcare organization, is to influence change in order to combat diabetes and other severe chronic diseases like obesity and uncommon blood and endocrine abnormalities. The partnership's early efforts will be centered on creating bioprinted tissue treatments that aim to maintain normal blood glucose levels without the need for immunosuppression, which can be a game-changing treatment for those with type 1 diabetes. See the Aspect – Novo Nordisk partnering press release here.

Combining the Power of Microfluidics and 3D Bioprinting

Founded in 2013, Aspect’s initial products facilitated the development of highly customized physiologically relevant 3D human tissue models. The idea is to spur the development of completely new therapeutics and to enable pharmaceutical companies to test drugs that they had shelved previously due to a lack of appropriate models. To achieve targeted results, the Company focused on partnering with biopharma companies and academic institutions to facilitate high-value discovery and development. For instance, Aspect announced a partnership with Merck, GSK, and McGill University to enable the development of immuno-oncology therapeutics targeting difficult-to-treat cancers such as triple-negative breast cancer. Additionally, the Company has created bioprinted liver tissue and is evaluating its ability to cure liver illnesses in animals.

Today, Aspect is gaining support for its grand vision of printing full-scale human organs for transplantation, ultimately saving the lives of countless patients who die while waiting to receive transplants. The Company announced a $20 Million Series A financing round in 2020 with proceeds directed toward advancing its multiple tissue therapeutic programs, expanding the technology platform capabilities, and growing its world-leading team. After helping spin the Company off from the University of British Columbia, making an initial investment in 2016, and participating in the 2020 Series A financing,  Rising Tide, is proud to be a pioneering investor in this new pharmaceuticals platform.

Why We Are Excited?

Amongst the various players in the 3D bioprinting industry, Aspect stands out as the only one with the capability to create a mix of bio-inks on the fly – bio-inks are materials used to produce engineered/artificial live tissue using 3D printing. Such innovation allows the Company to utilize more sophisticated printhead technology while competitors continue to use the advancement-limiting premixed bio-inks. With its technology platform, interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers, and leading collaborators, Aspect is developing a new wave of solutions that have the potential to transform how we heal injury and disease. View the video “Aspect Biosystems: The Bioprinting Process” to learn more. Click here.

Finally, a company committed to the development of bioprinted tissue therapeutics to prolong life and improve health!