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Startups in the Turku region | A walk and talk with Tomi from Brinter

Tomi Kalpio, the CEO and co-founder of Brinter, came across a peculiar challenge of printing a human brain in 3D. This is how his long career in 3D printing had an exciting twist that included bioprinting – printing living cells. Tomi is originally from the vibrant City of Turku, which became home to Brinter as well. What does an expert in 3D printing think about Turku as a place for doing business?

  • About the company: Brinter provides comprehensive 3D bioprinting solutions and services for pharmaceutical, biotechnological and cosmetic industries, universities, and research facilities.
  • Founded: 2021
  • Team: 15 (located in Finland and US)
  • Location of the office: PharmaCity, Turku and Marina Del Rey, US.
  • Latest achievement: Establishment of a subsidiary in the United States. The opening ceremony of our US subsidiary is on the 16th of March!
  • Random fact: Our team is multi-disciplined including for example a cell biologist, a pharma specialist, physicists, engineers, material scientists, and commercial and business know-how.

Tomi Kalpio used to travel a lot for work but these days he gets to do some of the work remotely in the beautiful scenery of Hirvensalo island. © Ninna Valencia / CYF Digital

The calm and quiet archipelago landscape spreads all around me when I arrive at Hirvensalo island only 15 minutes drive away from the center of Turku. This is the place where Tomi lives and works remotely. Even though time seems to have stopped in this picturesque place, Tomi’s company Brinter is having a boost and is developing rapidly!

Why did you choose Hirvensalo island for our meeting spot?

“This place is both my remote workstation which has been very important during covid and also a place where I can reset my mind close to nature sheltered from this hectic world”.

While we take a walk around the neighborhood and on a frozen lake, we can hear kids playing in the backyards and a few early spring birds singing. Tomi tells me about how they used to have a summer cottage here but enjoyed the neighborhood so much that they eventually built a house on the same spot. “I especially enjoy the archipelago and surrounding nature. It is rather nice to live on a small island by a small lake!”

“This is a place where I can reset my mind, sheltered from this hectic world”.

Walking on ice has a soothing effect after work. © Ninna Valencia / CYF Digital

Working in PharmaCity

When Tomi is not working remotely, he’s spending his days at Brinters office at PharmaCity in Kupittaa. Kupittaa is one of the fastest-growing areas in Turku with great high-tech facilities for companies and universities, multiple options for office space, and most of the services are located within a few hundred meters.

“PharmaCity is a like-minded environment with diverse know-how and collaborators. We have everything we need at PharmaCity and other “cities” (Bio, ICT, Data etc.) around it: good collaborators, but also laboratory and other facilities which are mandatory for our daily work”.

“PharmaCity is a like-minded environment with diverse know-how and collaborators”.

The Kupittaa area is full of contrasts. It has not only high-rise office buildings but also Finland’s biggest city park called Kupittaanpuisto right next to the business district. A lovely way to combine business and pleasure within just a few blocks!

What does the Turku region offer for startups and international talents?

One of the best things Tomi finds about his hometown is that the city is not too big, yet not too small. Turku has two universities and four universities of applied sciences with very high-quality education in general. In addition, Tomi appreciates the outstanding nature of the archipelago and the safety of the city.

“There are many international people already living, working, and studying here in Turku and there is a huge need for future talents working in our future global unicorns. Anyhow, there is still work to be done to make Turku a globally recognized region for top talents”.

“There is a huge need for future talents working in our future global unicorns”.

Tomi has had a long career as an entrepreneur in Turku and he finds that there is a lot of support for startups and for larger companies as well. Before Brinter he’s been working in the field of 3D printing with his other companies 3DTech and Dimea.

“We have been part of many programs and accelerators with 3DTech but the one we have participated with Brinter is still the ongoing ProHealth Growth Programme organized by Turku Science Park Ltd. This program is focusing especially on business development in biomedical sciences and is especially useful for us right now. There are a lot of topics that we need to figure out one way or another during our journey towards becoming a global player”.

Work in progress in the Brinter laboratory. © Brinter Oy

What does Brinter do?

Brinter was founded because of the growing need for bioprinting solutions. Bioprinting is a type of 3D printing that uses cells and other biological materials to print 3D structures. These solutions have a huge potential to repair damaged cells, organs, and tissues in our bodies. In addition, bioprinting makes diagnostics and research available without the need to use living creatures for testing but the printed materials instead.

At the moment bioprinting is still highly regulated and Brinter aims to serve the needs of current research. They provide automated and scalable out-of-the-box hardware for bioprinting applications in personalized tumor models, chondral repair, and drug formulation.

“These solutions have a huge potential to repair damaged cells, organs, or tissues in the human body”.

“The current product for research and development is scalable to the global market. The next product is perhaps more for the need of diagnostics, and the products are slowly evolving into different clinical applications that we want to develop in the long run – depending on our partners but also our own needs”.

In November 2021, Brinter established a subsidiary in the United States. Because of the bad Covid-19 situation, the opening of the US subsidiary was delayed. But now it is the time for celebration and on the 16th of March 2022 there will be an opening ceremony of Brinter at the Finnish embassy in Los Angeles!

What does an experienced entrepreneur think about his home city?

“Turku is a very good environment and possibilities are endless”.