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Alumnus David Orr's 3D Cell Culture Technology Helping Expand Biosciences

March 28, 2014

Orr At Microscope

Trailblazing Scientist: David Orr, a 1996 mechanical engineering alumnus, has been named one of “12 People Whose Technology Will Change the World” for his work on developing 3D cell-based modeling technology. (Photo provided)

     David Orr’s diverse background in mechanical and biomedical engineering has resulted in novel 3D cell-based modeling technology that’s shedding new light on how cells are tested and studied as part of cancer research.

     His South Carolina-based life sciences startup, KIYATEC Inc., is a world leader in segregated 3D co-culture. It serves the pharmaceutical and biotech industry with preclinical evaluation of toxicity and efficacy of new small molecules and biologics. The company’s motto is “Discover. Develop. Diagnose.”

     KIYATEC's 3DKUBE technology provides the means for creating advanced in vitro models using human cells in a dynamic and cost-effective platform. Company leadership has also identified patient-specific clinical cancer diagnostics as a tangible development goal, having undertaken early pilot studies with living tumor biopsies.

     The National Institutes of Health is supporting KIYATEC in the development of a 3D predictive breast cancer model. Orr, a 1996 mechanical engineering graduate, was named one of “12 People Whose Technology Will Change the World” (Greenville Business Magazine) and received the 2010 InnoVision Technology Development Award for outstanding leadership, innovation, and technological excellence.

     “The future will bring biology and engineering together in a more dramatic fashion. And, we’re ready to capitalize on that conversion,” he says.

     KIYATEC resulted from Orr’s doctoral research at Clemson University. The company started in 2005, took on its first seed funding in 2008, and gained momentum in 2011 after moving to research facilities in the Greenville Health System’s Institute for Translational Oncology Research.

     “By design, we have followed a consistent development track, making sure we did things right. Thanks in great part to our excellent team, we’re seeing many of our early plans become reality,” Orr says.