APSC Spinoff Aspect Biosystems Signs Deal with Novo Nordisk for up to US$2.6B to Treat Diabetes using Printed Tissue Implants

Aspect’s Bioprinter

Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor and ICICS member Konrad Walus has been exploring unconventional uses for printers since 2006. Working initially with inkjet printers he developed in the lab, Walus established that living cells printed using this inkjet technology could not only survive the printing process, but resume their biological function over time.

Walus and his team—including current Aspect Biosystems Chief Scientific Officer Sam Wadsworth and Walus’ then graduate students Tamer Mohamed (now Aspect President and CEO) and Simon Beyer (now Aspect Chief Technology Officer) co-founded Aspect Biosystems Ltd. in 2013 to commercialize their research, and received mentoring support from enterpreneurship@UBC (e@UBC).

Ten years later, after much research and development, Aspect has signed a 10-year deal with Danish drug company Novo Nordisk that could be worth as much as US$2.6B, and revolutionize the treatment of diabetes and obesity. Novo, which is a dominate player in the global insulin market, hopes to use the Aspect platform to create an implant for delivery of their beta insulin cells, created from stem cells. Beta insulin cells produce insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels by designating ingested sugars for either immediate use or storage. If successful, the cell therapy could allow people with Type 1 diabetes to lead lives not hampered by constant monitoring of their blood sugar and administration of insulin. The technology could also be applicable to treating liver disease…read more.