Engineering artificial scaffolds that enhance cell adhesion and growth in three dimensions is essential to successful bone tissue engineering. However, the fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) tissue scaffolds exhibiting complex micro- and nano-features still remains a challenge. Few materials can be structured in three dimensions, and even those have not been characterized for their mechanical and biological properties. In this study, we investigate the suitability of three novel materials of different chemical compositions in bone tissue regeneration: a hybrid material consisting of methacryloxypropyl trimethoxysilane and zirconium propoxide, a hybrid organic–inorganic material of the above containing 50 mole% 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) and a pure organic material based on polyDMAEMA. More specifically, we study the mechanical properties of the aforementioned materials and evaluate the biological response of pre-osteoblastic cells on them. We also highlight the use of a 3D scaffolding technology, Direct femtosecond Laser Writing (DLW), to fabricate complex structures. Our results show that, while all three investigated materials could potentially be used as biomaterials in tissue engineering, the 50% DMAEMA composite exhibits the best mechanical properties for structure fabrication with DLW and strong biological response. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A, 2013.