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Precise Bio Partners with Carl Zeiss Meditec to Develop 4D-Printed Corneal Transplants

Precise Bio's 4D bio-fabrication technology reportedly will offer a complete solution for procedures involving corneal transplants and alleviate the current shortage of donated corneas.

July 26, 2022

2 Min Read
closeup of human cornea
Image courtesy of Alamy/Roman Budnyi

Carl Zeiss Meditec has entered into a partnership with regenerative medicine company Precise Bio to develop and commercialize its technology to 4D print transplantable corneal tissue. The products are intended for patients who require corneal transplants to restore vision.                                                      

Under the terms of the agreement, Carl Zeiss Meditec, based in Jena, Germany, will invest in Precise Bio and fund the further development of Precise Bio's two cornea transplant products. Carl Zeiss Meditec will retain worldwide commercialization rights for these products under the agreement.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Globally, only one cornea is available for every 70 patients needing a transplant, according to Precise Bio. The technology developed by the company reportedly will offer a complete solution for corneal transplantation and alleviate the shortage of donated corneas.

Carl Zeiss Meditec, a leading medtech company specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, said that the investment will complement its portfolio of cataract and corneal refractive workflow solutions. “The technology has the potential to advance treatment options for corneal disease, as well as for elective procedures, further enabling optimization of patient care,” said Euan S. Thomson, PhD, President of Ophthalmic Devices and Head of the Digital Business Unit for Carl Zeiss Meditec.

Precise Bio combines engineering, biomaterials, cell technology, bioengineering, and 3D printing into a 4D bio-fabrication platform for transplantable organs and tissues. The proprietary technology enables tissue fabrication by printing cells in a single-cell resolution with spatial accuracy, producing complex constructs with structural integrity and long-term cell viability, according to the company. The bio-fabrication technology reportedly can be reliably scaled for clinical use, and can produce large quantities in a reproducible, quality-controlled, and cost-effective process.

Precise Bio has developed a bio-fabrication platform for the scalable production of corneal transplants.

Precise Bio's ophthalmological pipeline consists of three products — the two corneal transplants for diseases that require endothelial keratoplasty and lenticule replacement, which are the subject of the collaboration with Carl Zeiss Meditec, and a retinal implant for age-related macular degeneration. All of the products have achieved successful results in animal models, according to Precise Bio. The ophthalmological products address global markets exceeding $10 billion annually, said the company.

Precise Bio was founded in 2016 by Prof. Anthony Atala, MD, Director of the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), Prof. Shay Soker, PhD, also from WFIRM, and Aryeh Batt, who developed the company's laser printing technology. The company maintains facilities in Winston Salem, NC, and Modi'in, Israel. 

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