“It will be a first”: the Eden Prairie company is working to revolutionize organ transplants

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — More than 2 million people need dialysis or kidney transplants to survive, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

What if they didn’t? What if no one had to wait for an organ to survive?

Miromatrix, an Eden Prairie-based biomedical company, is attempting to change the course of human medical history using a process that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie.

“A bio-engineered organ has never been transplanted into a human,” said Jeff Ross, CEO of Miromatrix. “It will be a first.”

The company, founded in 2009, uses patented technology invented at the University of Minnesota to turn pig livers and kidneys into hopefully fully transplantable human kidneys.

Miromatrix starts with pig organs, because – well – pigs don’t smoke or drink. Their kidneys and livers give the business a perfect starting point, according to Ross. They remove all of the pig cells from the organ, leaving behind a white, protein-based structure of the organ. They then reintroduce human cells from unused or defective donor organs to create a new human organ.

This is essentially recycling human cells.

“Once this is available one day, patients won’t be thinking, ‘Where will this organ come from? Will I be able to essentially win the lottery? “You start to get into a situation where you know the solution exists and you have access to it,” Ross said.

The organs are cultured for 14 to 28 days until they become functional, Ross said. At some point in the future, the company hopes to introduce a patient’s stem cells into their own newly developed organ to better personalize it.

“There are approximately 110,000 patients today on the (US) organ transplant waiting list – 70,000 of them will not get an organ this year. So, our mission is how to find a solution? said Ross.

Miromatrix has been proven in a large animal study. Ross said the company will submit its application to the FDA for human trials by the end of 2022.