UPMBiomedicals

UPM Nanocellulose – From cell to therapy

From sustainably grown birch trees to high quality nanocellulose - we offer our natural biocompatible innovation, UPM Nanocellulose, as an OEM material for life science

 
  • in vitro use including 3D cell culture, 3D bioprinting, 3D cell transportation, imaging, bioprocessing

  • for clinical applications including as a drug carrier, an implant or as part of regenerative medicine.

  • We also offer licenses for specific application fields.

 
 

UPM Nanocellulose is already used in in vitro 3D cell culture (>180 protocols available for GrowDex®), in in vivo cell transplantation, in bioinks (GrowInk) and  in CE-marked wound dressings (FibDex®, medical device class II). We already supply several companies, such as BICO AB (Cellink), with our material for formulation of their own products. 

 
 

Why to choose UPM Nanocellulose?

  • Unique biomaterial:

    • Animal-free – no animal DNA hampering results  
    • Biocompatible – in topical use with patients already  
    • Scalable – readily available in large quantities  
    • Reproducible – day-to-day, year-to-year same results 
    • Sustainable – made from Finnish birch trees 
    • Temperature stable – work in room temperature instead working on ice 
    • Easy-to-apply – thanks to shear-thinning property, it is injectable, bioprintable and works with almost any dispenser even with 1536 wells  
    • Degradable – nanocellulose can be enzymatically degraded into sugars using our cellulase enzyme 
  • Available in many forms: hydrogel, dressing and freeze-dried 
  • Make it your own: hydrogel for 3D cell culture, bioink, microcarrier, filler, implant, drug delivery vehicle, formulation agent, preservative, etc. 
  • Protected: more than 300 patents protect you and your customers
 
 

UPM Nanocellulose is made of birch and water

UPM Nanocellulose is produced from birch trees that are first processed into cellulose and further refined into nanofibrillar cellulose (NFC). Our products are manufactured in Lappeenranta, Finland. 

 

The first in the world to manufacture plant-based nanocellulose in ISO13485 quality

We have developed UPM Nanocellulose for over 15 years and conducted more than 100 projects with numerous research partners. Together with our partners we have generated over 300 patents to protect the already existing and future applications. 


We are the first in the world to manufacture plant-based NFC in accordance with ISO13485 and are working towards GMP standards so that they fulfil the highest requirements posed by medical applications. Biological safety of nanocellulose has been evaluated according to ‘ISO 10993 - Biological evaluation of medical devices’: genotoxicity and cytotoxcity.

 

Available OEM qualities are: 

  • Structural quality (used for mechanical and structural testing without cells) 
  • In vitro quality (used in cell culture applications in life sciences) 
  • Human in vivo non-biodegradable quality (used for clinical and regenerative medicine applications)
 
 

UPM Nanocellulose Application Areas

UPM Nanocellulose has been used in a wide variety of applications. Below are some examples of the potential end use applications of NFC.

 

In vitro use3D cell culture, in vivo tumor and disease models, bioink for 3D bioprinting, transportation of cells in temperatures above 0 °C.

Read more about our OEM solutions for 3D bioprinting

See our publications on in vitro use of UPM nanocellulose


Wound carehydrogel or dressing for advanced wound care medical devices


Bioprocessing: The hydrogel itself or microcarriers made from NFC are used for the expansion of cells or production of cell-derived products especially with sensitive cell types (stem cells and immune cells) 


Fillers and implantsapplied in soft tissue repair and augmentation or orthopaedics


Drug Delivery: subcutaneous injection, implantable, ocular, NFC as a carrier for APIs 


Regenerative Medicine: NFC as an implant biomaterial for cells, exosomes, mRNA


Preservation agent for extended in vivo activity of APIs: long-term storage preservative above 0°C, e.g. vaccines 


 
 
 

Different forms of UPM Nanocellulose 

UPM Nanocellulose is currently available in the forms of hydrogel, dressing and as freeze-dried. 

 

Hydrogel

UPM nanocellulose hydrogel is a temperature stable gel. The material properties do not change even when temperature changes from 0°C to 60 °C. UPM nanocellulose is a ready-to-use hydrogel meaning that it does require any steps (e.g. crosslinking or polymerization) to form the gel. It is also shear thinning material, meaning that the gels viscosity decreases under shear strain and it recovers back to its semisolid state when the applied stress is removed. UPM nanocellulose’s shear thinning property enables injecting the hydrogel with a needle (for instance 30G size was used in vivo), handling with automated liquid dispensing or bioprinting.

 

Dressing

UPM’s nanocellulose dressing is already in clinical use in Europe. The advanced wound dressing is applied only once to the wound and peels of by itself as the epithelisation occurs. Single-time application of the dressing on the wound minimises the risk of infections and inflammation and reduces the valuable nursing time. The nanocellulose dressing can be cut into shape in dry or wet state to accurately fit it on the treated area. The nanocellulose dressing has shown to provide improved scar quality.

The dressing can be combined with pharmaceutics and especially with active biological components, where it not only provides localization of the treatment but also sustained activity of the drugs. The active pharmaceutical components can be applied to the dressing by several methods including spray coating or dip coating.


See example of CE-marked advanced wound care dressing FibDex® by UPM Biomedicals for skin graft donor sites.

 

Freeze-dried

UPM nanocellulose is provided also in freeze-dried form. Freeze-dried NFC can be instantly reconstituted back to the hydrogel-state by adding liquid. Freeze-drying enables long-term storage and shipping of components such as drugs, biologics, cells and other new modalities, while it also protects the primary structure and shape of the products. Freeze-drying increases the end products shelf life and preserves biological samples.


See publication by Koivunotko et al. (2021) where NFC is freeze-dried and then reconstituted back-to hydrogel-state with varying concentrations. 

Freeze-dried
Credit: Prof. Marjo Yliperttula's research group, University of Helsinki
 

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Interested in having a bilateral project or public project (e.g. EU Horizon) with us?

We are seeking for industrial partners (Pharma, Biotech and Medical device companies) to incorporate NFC in medical treatments.

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