Sponsored By
Karen Laird

March 26, 2016

2 Min Read
UPM Biochemicals moving into biomedical applications based on its cellulose nanofibril technology

UPM Biochemcials is establishing an innovation unit at the Biomedicum research and educational center in Meilahti, Helsinki. The unit will focus on biomedical applications based on the cellulose nanofibril technology developed by the company.

UPM Biochemicals is a Finnish company specialized in the production of biochemicals derived from renewable wood - wood originating from sustainable managed and certified forests - that offer a sustainable alternative to fossil-based materials. For UPM, biomedical applications are a “new and exciting field”, as Juuso Konttinen, Vice President, UPM Biochemicals put it, and at Biomedicum Helsinki, the UPM team will have the opportunity to work closely with medical researchers and other operators in the field. The center, which focuses on medical research and training in Finland and supports cooperation between academia and industry, provides working facilities for around 2,300 researchers, graduate students and support staff.

Biofibrils are products based on micro- and nano-fibrillated cellulose which give liquid product formulations new rheological characteristics or strengthen material properties. It is an area in which UPM has developed proprietary technology and inwhich it is starting to build a product portfolio.

The first commercial product developed by UPM for biomedical purposes is GrowDex, a cellulose nanofibril hydrogel for 3D cell culture applications that is highly biocompatible with human cells and tissues. 3D cell culture techniques foster the development of cell-based drug and chemical tests and can hasten the discovery of models and treatment for serious diseases. GrowDex features an ultrastructure and mechanical properties that can be tuned to fulfill the requirements of different cell types. As an injectable hydrogel, it forms a supporting matrix around the cells, and supports 3D cell growth. The hydrogel can be completely removed by enzymatic degradation while retaining the 3D spheroid structure.

“Our product is currently being used for cell culture in research and there are more than 100 researchers outside UPM working on it globally. GrowDex has a number of potential uses in biomedical applications," said Konttinen.

UPM is engaged in numerous bioeconomy projects, which it carries out with its partners – fellow industrial companies, start-ups, research institutes and other entities – in order to drive business development and innovation.

"Our partners are important to us for the commercialization of new technologies and the development of new innovations. Working in collaboration with our partners allows us to be faster, more agile and more efficient," Juuso Konttinen declared.

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like