Interview: Mr. Keith Murphy, CEO of Organovo

Keith Murphy Interview Series

Mr. Murphy co-founded Organovo in 2007 and has led all company operations since that time. He co-invented the company’s NovoGen MMX bioprinter platform and grew the company through early investments and corporate partnerships. Since going public in 2012, the company has focused on the development of three-dimensional liver, kidney, and cancer tissues. The most advanced program, liver tissue, has grown to encompass a range of applications from commercial use for pharmaceutical toxicology prediction to the preclinical development of human 3D liver patches for transplant patients. Prior to co-founding Organovo, Mr. Murphy spent ten years at Amgen in roles of increasing responsibility, including four years as the Global Operations Leader of denosumab, now marketed as Prolia & Xgeva ($3B+ annual sales). He holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is an alumnus of the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He currently serves on the Board of the California Life Sciences Association. Mr. Murphy will be the keynote speaker at #3DHEALS2017.

Q: What is your vision on Bioprinting industry?

A: The industry will grow to parallel genomic sequencing in scope and number of applications over time!

Q: What are you working on?

A: Organovo’s teams are working on critical projects: using our tissues to better predict drug toxicity, to find new drugs that will be safer, and to actually directly treat patients with replacement liver tissues!

Q: What is the biggest potential impact you see bio-printing having on the healthcare industry?

A: Allowing creation of human disease models that displace animal models, allowing for superior drug discovery and significant change to how clinical trials are conducted.

Q: What challenges do you see in scaling bio-printing applications?

A: Cell sourcing can be an issue, but bio-printing itself scales readily. It’s a lot more challenging to manage the storage of a large number of bio-printed tissues in incubators for research than it is to scale the bio-printing step.

Q: Who inspires/inspired you the most in the Bio printing industry?

A: Sharon Presnell, Organovo’s Chief Scientific Officer came into the company with vision and scientific wisdom, and combines a practical nature with deep technical expertise.

Q: What is the best lesson you have learned throughout the 3D printing journey?

A: When we started out we were the only game in town, and an industry has now arisen in 3D bio-printing. One major learning is that we need to stay focused on our major goals, keep our edge to be ahead of innovation, and trust in our IP strength to take care of the rest.

Q: What is the biggest business/professional risk you have taken?

A: Leaving a well-paying and very safe corporate job and investing my entire life savings into starting up Organovo at high risk, raising financing during the financial crisis of 2008.



  • Very interesting.
    Organovo looks like an interesting company. A new bio printing company Aether looks even more interesting.
    Has anyone seen Aether? I’ve read the Aether 1 Bioprinter is better than Organovo but for a fraction of the price.
    Is this true?
    Has anyone read this article?

    • The Aether 1 printer in cambridge had to be replaced.The replacement doesn’t work. Its almost 2018. At least Organovo is a lot more than cheaper hardware.