In 2017, Dr. Paul Cook, CEO of AvantBio in Seattle, WA happened upon an article about the launch of an organization called the “Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute” (ARMI) across the country in Manchester, NH. Due to his company’s strong interest in the development of chemically-defined, animal-derived component-free (ACF) cell culture media for use in human cell culture, he made contact with ARMI in hopes of joining a like-minded community which focuses on regenerative medicine and biofabrication. With AvantBio’s ACF cell culture focus and its recent ARMI membership comes a passion to assist others in the ARMI | BioFabUSA community.
“We are ready to collaborate with other ARMI members,” Cook said. He added, “We are excited to interact with so many esteemed ARMI professional colleagues under the same umbrella and hope to offer our current ACF cell culture products and expertise to ARMI members as well as commit to the R&D needed to create new cell culture products for both scaled ACF cell culture and ACF tissue biofabrication with ARMI members.”
In January 2008, Dr. Cook and Dr. Rolf W. Winter launched AvantBio Corporation with laboratories in Vancouver, WA. With their small start-up and under 10 employees, Cook and Winter have developed new and improved efficient ACF cell culture supplement systems for human epidermal keratinocytes, corneal epithelial cells, dermal fibroblasts and related cell types. Additionally, AvantBio aims to target other therapeutically relevant cell types that ARMI members could use in their R&D efforts.
AvantBio’s ACF products can support the efficient primary isolation and serial propagation of clinically-relevant cells from human tissue that have previously proven difficult to efficiently propagate under ACF conditions. In addition, the company has also developed low DMSO ACF media for the for the freezing and low temperature storage of human cells as well.
“We only develop products that are ACF, not only because the costs of using animal components are steadily increasing, but also because the animal product-exposed therapeutic cells or engineered tissue could transport animal-borne infectious disease to humans,” said Cook. “Moreover, ACF cell culture is also animal cruelty-free, because animals do not have to be sacrificed or mistreated to collect fetal bovine serum for example,” Cook added.
Cook believes that its ACF cell culture products will aid in a variety of tissue engineering and cell therapy applications.
“We predict that application of our ACF cell culture systems to the 3D bioprinting of skin and cornea will come first, due to the fact that it is comparably easy to reconstruct these simple tissues,” he said. “While our products right now are primarily for eye and skin regenerative medicine applications, we are branching out to other areas, some of which involve stem cells, and we are looking forward to interacting with ARMI members in these areas as well,” said Cook.