3DHEALS Influencer Interview Series: Mr. Tamer Mohamed

The applications of bioprinting technology will continue to rapidly advance and will have a major impact on drug development, personalized medicine, and organ transplantation. I imagine a future where life-saving drugs are more efficiently developed without the use of animals, where doctors can determine how a patient will react to a drug before prescribing it, and where replacement organs can be 3D printed using a patient’s own cells, without dealing with wait lists or organ rejection. This is a future that could be enabled by bioprinting technology.

Mr. Mohamed is an entrepreneur, engineer, inventor and co-founder of Aspect Biosystems, an award-winning biotechnology company operating at the leading edge of 3D bioprinting and tissue engineering. Has has played an integral role in the company’s overall corporate, business and technology development. In his previous appointment as Chief Technology Officer of Aspect Biosystems, he drove the innovation and development of the company’s core technologies and intellectual property. He played a leading role in the company’s research and development and is a co-inventor of all of Aspect’s patents.

Tamer earned his B.A.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering and M.A.Sc. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at UBC. While completing his M.A.Sc. degree, he co-founded Aspect Biosystems. Tamer started his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering at UBC, but left the program to pursue his entrepreneurial ambitions and focus his efforts on building and growing Aspect Biosystems. We are happy to have Tamer as our speaker for #3DHEALS2017.

Q: What is your vision for bioprinting?

A: The applications of bioprinting technology will continue to rapidly advance and will have a major impact on drug development, personalized medicine, and organ transplantation. I imagine a future where life-saving drugs are more efficiently developed without the use of animals, where doctors can determine how a patient will react to a drug before prescribing it, and where replacement organs can be 3D printed using a patient’s own cells, without dealing with wait lists or organ rejection. This is a future that could be enabled by bioprinting technology.

Q: What do you specialize in?

A: Our team at Aspect Biosystems is focused on developing tissues for pre-clinical drug development. An example of this includes a 3D bioprinted tissue that models airway constriction and relaxation. This bioprinted tissue is being used in the development of novel asthma therapeutics. We also focus on developing 3D tissues for clinical applications. A key part of our strategy involves partnering with best-in-class pharma and biotech firms to develop impactful application of our platform technology. An example of this is a collaboration between Aspect and Johnson and Johnson where we are working closely to develop 3D printed knee meniscus tissue for surgical therapy.

Q: What inspires you to do what you do?

A: I am inspired by the amazing potential of bioprinting technology in changing the way we develop drugs and treat disease. I am also inspired by our team at Aspect. Our team of world-class scientists and engineers is constantly pushing the boundaries of our technology with the goal of ultimately making a meaningful impact on patients.

Q: What is the best business lesson you have learned?

A: Starting a business is hard. As Elon Musk says, “starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss”. Having a deep passion and excellent team to get through the difficulties of starting a business is crucial.

Q: How do you ensure you’re making informed decisions?

A: Surrounding myself with smart people I trust, taking their feedback critically, and gathering relevant and current information and data.

Q: How will bioprinting impact pharma R&D?

A: The pre-clinical phase of drug development is in need of increased physiological relevance. Bioprinting will enable us to create tissues that are more predictive of the human response to drugs. Using bioprinted tissues in pre-clinical drug development will allow us to eliminate drugs that won’t work or are unsafe in humans sooner, and take safe and effective drugs into clinical trials with a higher chance of success.

Q: How will bioprinting impact regenerative medicine?

A: Medicine is going to get a lot more personalized, and this is where bioprinting really shines — it’s a customization platform. I imagine in the not so distant future, we will be creating tissues that are customized to your own body, made up of your own cells, to replace diseased tissue.

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