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In this Q/A session with Kolin Hribar, co-founder and CEO of portfolio company Cypre Biotech, Kolin shares his perspectives and outlook on the future of medicine, treatment and care. Cypre is the top-tier 3D bioprinting company that is drastically improving drug development and precision medicine for cancer patients. 

What does the future of medicine look like to you? 

I think we'll continue to function off the next generation of drugs that are developed by pharmas and biotechs and potentially be interested in personalized diagnostics and treatment and that's going to be spurred by genomic and biopsy testing. Obviously people get cancer — for instance, the ability to harness your immune system to target the cancer is quite promising, but also the ability to pretest a patient’s tumor ahead of treatment will effectively allow clinicians to determine the most effective treatment for that patient. 

How do you see the industry as being ripe for disruption today?

3D cell culture is probably the next step in circumventing both animal studies as well as traditional 2D cell culture, and I think it's going to become much more prevalent and widely adopted as pharmas get smart about this idea — they have this 95 percent failure rate with drugs, and they want to create human-like systems without going to the problem of clinical trials. So they want to test in faster-better-cheaper human-like systems. So that's where I think 3d bioprinting and 3d cell culture comes into play — creating these types of physiologically relevant systems.

What does personalized, or precision medicine mean to you? 

For us, we're looking at it as a longterm strategy, because we're seeing much more market pull in the pharmaceutical drug development side in creating a human relevant physiological systems. But precision medicine requires a couple different factors to be adopted. Namely, you need the technology validation, which I think we have a really good starting point for with our collaboration at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, but then you also have to look at market validation and that's between the patients, the insurance companies as well as the clinicians — so you have to get all three groups on board. That's why it's more of a long term strategy. 

Why should people be excited about the new tools and platforms for drug developments and treatments? 

The people or the pharmas or the biotechs — they’re starting to realize this systemic issue of ineffective 2D cell culture and plastic plate cell culture as well as animal studies. And they're actively seeking to correct with new, enabling technologies so we at Cypre, we really start to listen to pharmas and understand their pains and needs of both the pharma researcher and the organization. We've devised a bio-printing system that enables these scientists to study human biological environments with both physiological relevance and skills they'll need at the core issue. 

What is the current issue in the industry that you are helping to address and how are you doing so?

We're heavily focused most of our efforts on driving adoption of our bioprinting platform principally for drug R&D with pharmas and biotechs, but we're also working with academic collaborators in precision medicine. Our end goal is to be the nexus/link between ground breaking scientific discovery in novel drugs with a technologically superior and easy to use bioprinting platform that's going to replace animals and basic cell culture. 

Could you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind Cypre?

I've been working in tissue engineering since I was an undergrad at Penn, and I decided to work in cancer research specifically because I had some people in my family who passed away from cancer — so it was a huge personal drive and commitment of mine. When I got into grad school and I decided to do my PhD research in this area as well, it really formalized my interest in driving novel technologies to enable next generation cancer therapeutics and patient success. So that was the genesis of the company and what we strive to keep throughout. 

What we can expect from Cypre in coming months/years?

We're very excited to be coming out with our bioprinting system as a product and I'll be able to share more details later on, but we are currently beta testing with some of our academic collaborators, and we're also taking on custom contracts with pharmaceuticals. But the key thing is we want to make sure that this becomes a very widely adopted technology in the pharma and biotech communities for drug development, and we see that as where we are going to be in the next couple of years.