Bioprinting will save pharmaceutical industry billions and deliver safer drugs, faster

April 4, 2018 With a 12% success rate for drugs entering clinical trials, there is no doubt that drug companies need more accurate prediction platforms to help them save billions in bringing a drug to market. 3D cellular models, such as spheroids, organoids and organ-on-chips, offer a promising solution to this issue. But how can these models be built at the complexity and scale needed for pharma? Bioprinting’s ability for increased complexity and automation is the clear answer.

Today, Allevi Inc announced a co-authored paper with Dr. Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and featured on TED, describing the potential of bioprinting to improve drug testing. “Bioprinted organoids can potentially provide significant benefits to drug companies and patients alike,” said Atala. “More accurate and faster testing brings new drugs to market sooner, and the possibility of engineering tumors in the lab from a patient’s own cells means patients can get the best therapy right away – without time spent taking therapies that won’t work for them.”

One of the unique aspects this revolutionary technology provides is the ability to achieve complex geometries that more accurately mimic the human body. For example, printed heart cells patterned in lines mimicking how they are found in the body behave much more like the real heart than 2D models of heart cells randomly dispersed in a dish.

This higher performance provides for much more accurate drug testing. More accurate testing allows pharmaceutical companies to fail earlier in the drug development process, saving companies from lengthy, expensive clinical trials and preventing patients from exposure to potentially harmful drugs. Bioprinting not only allows for the complexity needed to create these models but can also automate the process, saving time and increasing reproducibility.

When these models are made with a patient’s own cells, they have even more potential to revolutionize not only general drug development but also personalized medicine. For example, these models could have huge implications in terms of cancer treatment by using a patient’s own tumor cells to test a personalized therapy. These types of models have potential to help develop drugs tailored to a specific patient and could allow doctors to test a therapy on a personalized model before exposing the patient to potential harm.

As Dr. Aleksandra Skardal, Assistant Professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and who is not an author on this publication, describes, “Bioprinting has been often regarded primarily as a way to create tissues and organoids for therapeutic uses such as transplantation in patients. But as the authors describe in this publication, this technology could be incredibly valuable for the pharmaceutical industry and in the clinic by supporting automated deposition of large numbers of microphysiological systems, or microtissues, for high throughput drug screening.”

The ability for bioprinting as a platform to accurately capture the design of several different tissues types is extremely powerful. Margaret Prendergast, Director of Bioengineering and Pharmaceutical Development, explains “Bioprinted organ-on-a-chip models demonstrate enhanced biological relevance in a variety of tissues, such as the heart, liver, brain and lung. There is huge potential for these models to revolutionize the way we test and develop medicine.”

Ricky Solorzano, CEO of Allevi, “Bioprinting solutions have an immense potential to offer automation, increased complexity, and personalization in a host of different ways. Allevi’s solutions are gearing up to solve to some of pharma’s biggest problems and we are excited to begin working together.”

Fiat Money vs Cryptocurrencies

Fiat Money vs Cryptocurrencies

BlockchainTech Congress is the first edition of the event, which is entirely dedicated to blockchain technology. Blockchain is a big chance for most sectors, which can be completely changed by the ultra-modern technology. On 28 March 2019 at The Westin Warsaw Hotel, I am going to moderate a debate on “Fiat Money vs Cryptocurrencies – How are cryptocurrencies not just another form of fiat money?”

Panelists include Kumar Gaurav, Founder & CEO, Cashaa, UK, Justyna Laskowska, CMO, BitBay, Bartłomiej Michałowski, Expert in New Technologies, Sobieski Institute

To start this topic, first we need to know what “Fiat Money” and “Cryptocurrency” is.

Fiat is Latin for “let it be done.” and a Fiat money is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but it is not backed by a physical commodity.

  • Because fiat money is not linked to physical reserves, it risks becoming worthless due to hyperinflation.
  • If people lose faith in a nation’s paper currency, like the U.S. dollar bill, the money will no longer hold any value.
  • Fiat money is inconvertible and cannot be redeemed (unlike Representative money)
  • Fiat money rose to prominence in the 20th century, specifically after the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1971, when the United States ceased to allow the conversion of the dollar into gold
  • There are more opportunities for the creation of bubbles with a fiat money due to its unlimited supply.

A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to secure its transactions, to control the creation of additional units, and to verify the transfer of assets.

  • On March 5th, 2018, the word “cryptocurrency” was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  • Cryptocurrencies are a type of digital currencies, alternative currencies, and virtual currencies.
  • Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking systems.

According to Jan Lansky, a cryptocurrency is a system that meets all of the following six conditions:

  1. The system does not require a central authority, distributed achieve consensus on its state.
  2. The system keeps an overview of cryptocurrency units and their ownership.
  3. The system defines whether new cryptocurrency units can be created.
  4. Ownership of cryptocurrency units can be proved exclusively cryptographically.
  5. The system allows transactions to be performed in which ownership of the cryptographic units is changed.
  6. If two different instructions for changing the ownership of the same cryptographic units are simultaneously entered, the system performs at most one of them.

Q: The Federal Reserve controls both the supply and ease of borrowing our money and thus controls inflation. Inflation is a transfer of wealth from poor and middle-class to rich and wealthy people. Why should bankers operate a scheme that transfers wealth in this way?

Q: Gareth Murphy, a senior central banking officer has stated: “widespread use [of cryptocurrency] would also make it more difficult for statistical agencies to gather data on economic activity, which are used by governments to steer the economy”. He cautioned that virtual currencies pose a new challenge to central banks’ control over the important functions of monetary and exchange rate policy

Q: In addition to the social damage and the trillions of dollars that money laundering costs the global economy, it is estimated that an additional $1.6 trillion is lost to governments around the world every year (BBC News, 2009) due to corrupt politicians and public officials.

Q: The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates the yearly cost of fraud to be 5% of global revenues, or, $3.7 trillion per year, based on 2013 global figures (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2014).

Q: Due to the frequency and magnitude of thefts in legacy systems, I will only refer to single theft events larger or similar in size to the largest ever single alleged Bitcoin theft event (Mt Gox in 2014), so as to not encumber the reader with too many examples.

Q: It is estimated that 1.4% of retail revenues, or $112 billion in 2012, are lost to petty theft and shop-lifting every year (Griffin, 2013).

Q: In addition to the more than $3 trillion dollars lost to laundering and corruption, the world’s economy is subject to a further loss of $1.8 trillion dollars to the black market. A lot of the money that enters the black market is “clean”, i.e., a citizen using legally obtained money to purchase illegal goods. The breakdown of this $1.8 trillion dollar market is shown in the table below (Havoscope, 2014).

How to recognize a fake ICO?

How to recognize a fake ICO?

BlockchainTech Congress is the first edition of the event, which is entirely dedicated to blockchain technology. Blockchain is a big chance for most sectors, which can be completely changed by the ultra-modern technology. On 28 March 2019 at The Westin Warsaw Hotel, I am going to moderate a debate on “How to recognize a fake ICO in the jungle of constantly emerging new blockchain implementations?”

Panelists include Piotr Smoleń, CEO & Managing Partner at Data Ventures VC, Katarzyna Ciupa, Bitcoin Austria Verein, Adam Vaziri, Director, Diacle.

As a blockchain and ICO advisor, one of my responsibilities is to have an eye on almost all new ideas, and I have to say it is becoming harder and harder to spot a fake ICO simply because scammers are getting better at it. First this article, I will talk about major factors to spot the right ICO, later during the debate, we will challenge all these ideas and try to demystify the definition of a fake ICO. Just to start by an example, we can monitor the Benebit ICO.  They had everything you look for in a legitimate ICO and it was so convincing that even reputable ICO review websites like icobench gave them a 4.1 out of 5 score, much higher than many legit ICOs. Benebit had a professional website, well written white paper translated into 3 languages, strong team with convincing linked profiles…etc. They could have run off with more money until someone found the team pic stolen from (Pictures below). They ran off with $2.7 million worth of Ether. They could have scammed more if not for the accidental find and we should all take that as a heavy lesson moving on.

Have a play at Yet Another ICO to see how easy to fake an ICO.

Here I am going to ask a few questions and try to provide more information about it to help you understand ICOs and be able to make your decision with more certainty. You can ask your questions in the comment section and will update the post after the debate.

What are the differences between Tokenized securities and Utility tokens?

Generally speaking, tokens that represent shares of business considered Tokenized securities. However, the SEC believes any token that can’t pass the Howey test should be considered as a security and fall under the 1934 Security Exchange Act.
The Howey test consists of the following:

  • Is it an investment of money or assets?
  • Is the investment of money or assets in a common enterprise?
  • Is there an expectation of profits from the investment?
  • Does any profit come from the efforts of a promoter or a third party?

The final factor of the Howey Test concerns whether any profit that comes from the investment is largely or wholly outside of the investor’s control. If so, then the investment might be a security.

The utility tokens are services or units of services that can be purchased. Balaji S. Srinivasan, CEO of compares utility tokens to API keys, used to access the service.

How do you review the four T’s of ICOs (Team, Technology, Token, Timeline)?

Team: It can be said that in the ICO world, your team sells your project. The team should have a relevant track record in the same sector as the ICO and this claim should be able to be backed by multiple sources. The team is the initial point for determining whether a company is legitimate or a scam. You should be looking for how to complete their team’s LinkedIn profile is, how long the team has been in finance or tech, and if the team is backed by any major players.

Technology:  More tech-savvy investors determine if they want to invest in an ICO solely on the platform. Having solid technology is a surefire way to sell any ICO investor into spending their hard-earned money. This is akin to crowdfunding in a lot of ways. People are promised a product in the future, investors line up to buy, and the product delivered is either faulty or not delivered at all. It can be very disheartening for any newcomer to experience an exit scam the moment they join the ICO world. Unfortunately, it occurs at a higher frequency every single day.

Token: Token’s and their tokenomics are important to look at, but it is hard to define how useful they are in determining the viability of an ICO. Unfortunately, if you ask 100 different people on which of the three (utility, security, and equity) tokens is the best and why you will get 100 unique answers. Many veterans advise you to look at a platform’s tokens. If you cannot determine whether a project is legit or not after reviewing their team and technology, tokenomics may help you decide whether an ICO is worth it. Good tokens backed by a solid team and platform will usually be legitimate. The opposite is completely true as well. A bad token usually means a bad ICO.

Timeline: Timeline is last but not least. Knowing when a project plans to deliver on its promises is incredibly important. While not as pressing as tech and team, a weak timeline will convert into less interested users and increased levels of FUD. It is hard to find an example of a successful ICO with a weak timeline. Most usually never make it past their “raise.” Most usually exit scam. An excellent way to get a sense of a company’s timeline is to visit their Slack or Telegram groups. If the core team is responding regularly, it is an excellent indication of a legitimate ICO. People who care about their projects tend to be slightly neurotic about it. If a CEO or founder is constantly correcting or answering questions, it is a good sign that the team is connected.

What is the best industry to be disrupted by blockchain?

Voting: Blockchain can eliminate voter fraud, providing a clear record of the votes cast, and prevent any chance of a rigged election. Furthermore, this could all be done on a mobile platform, allowing busy individuals the opportunity to cast their vote without going to a polling station. Follow My Vote promises an ‘online voting solution for the modern age’ via blockchain technology.

Healthcare: Current challenges in the healthcare sector include keeping patient records private from hackers while allowing authorized access by providers. Applying blockchain to healthcare records promises improved data security, with better access for healthcare professionals and patients alike, and greater transparency for healthcare transactions. Gem has partnered with Philips in this space.

Photography: Photographers can face challenges when it comes to getting paid royalties for their snaps, especially in our digital world where image theft is often just a click away. With that in mind, at the recent CES show in Las Vegas, Kodak revealed its new digital currency, KODAKCoin, which is backed by a blockchain ledger and image rights platform called KODAKOne.

Internet of Things (IoT): In 2015, IBM and Samsung showed off an application of the blockchain known as ADEPT (Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry), which is designed to decentralize the IoT, and allow devices to communicate directly, without a manufacturer’s hub getting in the way and trying to lock users into a particular ecosystem.

Cloud storage: Storing data in the cloud has become an increasingly popular and convenient practice, although it still has potential problems – like downtime and losing access to your data temporarily, or more seriously, the cloud service being hacked. Storj is a company that’s using the blockchain for open source cloud storage.

Public records: The use of the blockchain represents an innovative solution to encode the public data in a digital ledger, keeping the info safe from being altered. In the US, Delaware-based Ubitquity has the first blockchain-based system for property record management including titles, which is in testing overseas at the Land Records Bureau in Brazil.

Banking: Financial institutions continue to face challenges with identity theft, cost efficiency of transactions, and just general security. The blockchain will certainly digitally disrupt this industry, and holds the potential key to faster transactions, at less cost, and with a higher degree of security. IBM has partnered with Axoni and R3 to develop and deploy distributed ledger technology to the financial industry.

Car Leasing: Leasing a car can end up being a protracted process, with multiple parties involved in the transaction, all needing to verify information before the car rolls off the lot. DocuSign, has partnered with credit card giant Visa to apply blockchain technology to Smart Contracts that promise a streamlined ‘click, sign and drive’ approach to securely leasing a vehicle.

Music rights: The entertainment industry is looking to blockchain technology to secure digital rights for music and other media, with the potential to recapture that income. The British company JAAK has grabbed attention with its effort to create Smart Content with a “global view of content ownership and rights”.

Worker credentials: When companies hire an individual for a job, they want to get the best-qualified person with the most appropriate experience levels. The Learning Machine is applying blockchain technology, worker and professional credentials can be verified and kept in a secure digital ledger, which cannot be altered down the road to fit another position the applicant is subsequently interested in. The firm promises inherent fraud protection which could make choosing the right person for a job a good deal easier.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Inaugural Flight

SpaceX Falcon Heavy Inaugural Flight

When Falcon Heavy lifts off in 2018, it will be the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. With the ability to lift into orbit nearly 64 metric tons (141,000 lb) a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage, and fuel Falcon Heavy can lift more than twice the payload of the next closest operational vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy, at one-third the cost. Falcon Heavy draws upon the proven heritage and reliability of Falcon 9.

Its first stage is composed of three Falcon 9 nine-engine cores whose 27 Merlin engines together generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff, equal to approximately eighteen 747 aircraft. Only the Saturn V moon rocket, last flown in 1973, delivered more payload to orbit. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space and restores the possibility of flying missions with the crew to the Moon or Mars.

What is the ICO hard cap?

What is the ICO hard cap?

When looking to invest in cryptocurrencies, there are few initial factors to consider which could give you a good indication of whether or not a particular token has the potential to increase in value. One of these factors is the hard cap of the coin circulation. The hard cap is the total issuance of a coin that will be created. This amount is fixed and specified before an ICO is launched. The coin distribution can never exceed this amount.

Before looking at the importance of the hard cap, there are three distinct categories of coin distribution that’s often used in investing.

Circulating supply

This is the amount of coins that are actively being traded in the market. In some instances, projects could have all their tokens pre-mined and released all at once through the ICO. The circulating supply will, therefore, be the same as the maximum supply.

Other times, tokens have to be mined over time or coins are released on a schedule. In this case, the two supplies will differ. Either way, circulating supply tells you how many coins are doing the rounds at that very moment.

Total supply

This is the amount of coins that actually exist, including the ones that are not in circulation. Why would coins exist but not be in circulation? It could be for a number of reasons. A team might have mined coins but kept them back without putting it on the market. Or developers are required to hold their portion of the ICO for a set number of months which is to prevent coins being dumped as soon as it gets listed. The coins therefore exist but are not yet in circulation.

Maximum supply

This is also known as the hard cap and is the most important one of the three. It will tell you the maximum number of coins that will ever be created (Bitcoin’s hard cap is 21,000,000 tokens).  Not all cryptocurrencies have a hard cap. Ethereum, for example, has no maximum supply limit of ether.

Why is the hard cap important?

There are two main reasons to have an adequate hard cap.

The first has to do with scarcity. Think about diamonds for a second, we know the scarcer they become (i.e. there are only so many diamonds in existence) the more valuable they become. It’s the same with cryptocurrencies, simple supply and demand. If there’s a finite supply of a particular token, the value of the coin is likely to increase over time.

This, will in turn, protect the integrity and value of the underlying network. There is, however, a fine balance in getting this number right. Too low a hard cap and you won’t be able to raise enough funds to develop and grow the network.

On the other hand, if the network is flooded with tokens that don’t have a purpose because the hard cap is too high, the value of the coin will become diluted, causing a drop in the integrity and value of the network.

The second reason is closely connected to the project roadmap. For every amount raised, the startup should make sure there is a clear and concise purpose for it. Basically, if we raise so much, we plan to do this, if we raise more than that, here is where the funds will be applied.

However, we’ve seen projects raising hundreds of millions of dollars with no set objective of what to do with all that money. There have been instances of startups setting a funding target of $20 million but then go on to raise over $200 million because they didn’t set a hard cap. There’s no predetermined plan for the excess $180 million. If funds are not put to work effectively, especially within young startups, investors will never see their expected ROI.


Iranian bitcoin-only e-commerce shop

Iranian bitcoin-only e-commerce shop

That year, an Iranian shoemaker with a bitcoin-only e-commerce shop called Persian Shoes reached out to the Bitcoin community. CEO Mor Roghani wrote on his website that he could not take other forms of payment to sell his products worldwide. He explained, “the problem is we operate in Iran and most payment systems either are not willing to serve us at all or impose a huge risk on our business.” While bitcoin has been helping him circumvent his payments problem, sanctions placed on the country by the US still make it illegal for US residents to purchase goods from the country.