In September last year, we described a patent dispute that flared up between two companies producing 3D bio-printers – Cellink (belonging to the BICO group) and Organovo. First, Organovo – the undisputed pioneer of 3D bio-printing in the world, accused Cellink of breaching several of his patents, only to be accused by Cellink a moment later that his patents should never be granted at all. Ultimately, the companies reached an agreement by signing appropriate license agreements for the use of their technological solutions, which at the same time guarantee the final end of the conflict and prevent further claims.
According to statements by both companies, they have agreed to resolve their dispute through a commercial license agreement. Thanks to the agreement, all civil claims regarding the validity of Organovo patents were dismissed and the companies also agreed to forgo all related claims, obligations and costs in order to find a “favorable and lasting solution” to their legal conflict. In the case of Cellink / BICO, such an agreement provides the company with access to Organovo bio-printing technology, which will strengthen the already wide portfolio of technological solutions. In return for access to Organovo resources, Cellink / BICO will have to pay about 1-2% of the sum of its total revenues it will achieve in 2022. Just as this amount was deemed “insignificant to the group”, for Organovo this capital may prove to be a true “manna from heaven”.
Organovo started its operations in the mid-00’s, developing the technology of 3D bio-printing of liver tissues. The company announced its first significant success in 2013, which inspired many scientists to undertake research in this area and, as a consequence, initiated the career of many currently operating companies on the 3D bio-printing market. Unfortunately, despite successive scientific successes, Organovo has never managed to achieve any significant market success. In 2019, the company announced the need to find “strategic alternatives” for further development, when it turned out, inter alia, that the current method of producing liver tissue requires a significant change in the technological approach (in other words – it has reached the limit of its capabilities). Since then, Organovo has focused more on minimizing expenses and looking for alternative financing methods than on research …
From a financial point of view, last year’s patent dispute with Cellink turned out to be the right step. Paradoxically, thanks to the signed license agreement, Organovo will have funds for development at least this year. The question is how will it handle it in the long run …?