Bioartificial liver (BAL) devices employing xenogeneic hepatocytes are being developed as a temporary support of liver failure. For clinical applications, transporting such a device from the manufacturing site to the hospital is necessary. We investigated the effect of hypothermic treatment on the performance of the collagen-entrapment BAL device developed at the University of Minnesota. A number of chemical protectants were examined for their effectiveness in minimizing damage to hepatocytes. Preincubation with protectant (tauroursodeoxycholic acid, TUDCA) before hypothermic treatment improved posttreatment BAL performance. Oxygen consumption and albumin and urea synthesis all resumed at levels comparable to pretreatment levels. The method described will facilitate the application of BAL in the treatment of liver failure.