A paper-based platform was developed and tested for studies on basic cell culture, material biocompatibility, and activity of pharmaceuticals in order to provide a reliable, robust and low-cost cell study platform. It is based upon a paper or paperboard support, with a nanostructured latex coating to provide an enhanced cell growth and sufficient barrier properties. Wetting is limited to regions of interest using a flexographically printed hydrophobic polydimethylsiloxane layer with circular non-print areas. The nanostructured coating can be substituted for another coating of interest, or the regions of interest functionalized with a material to be studied. The platform is fully up-scalable, being produced with roll-to-roll rod coating, flexographic and inkjet printing methods. Results show that the platform efficiency is comparable to multi-well plates in colorimetric assays in three separate studies: a cell culture study, a biocompatibility study, and a drug screening study. The color intensity is quantified by using a common office scanner or an imaging device and the data is analyzed by a custom computer software without the need for expensive screening or analysis equipment.