FUJIFILM Corporation has announced that it signed an agreement today to invest 100 million yen into a biotech venture, Cuorips Inc., through underwriting its third-party allocation of shares. Cuorips is a biotech venture for developing and commercializing iPSC-based treatment for heart failure. Coinciding with the investment, Fujifilm also signed a business partnership agreement concerning the contract development and manufacturing of a regenerative medicine product, currently under R&D by Cuorips, the United States.
Heart failure refers to a condition in which the heart becomes incapable of pumping blood sufficiently, leading to symptoms such as breathing difficulty. It is caused by heart diseases such as ischemic cardiomyopathy*. Heart failure is treated with pharmacotherapy at present, but it is difficult to achieve a complete recovery. Many patients require repeated hospital treatments as their conditions worsen, and heart transplantation is performed on severe cases. However, there is a need for developing a new treatment option because it is difficult to secure enough number of donors.
Cuorips is a biotech venture originated from Osaka University, aimed at commercializing an allogeneic iPSC-derived cardiomyocyte sheet**, developed by a team led by Professor Yoshiki Sawa ,head of department for Cardiovascular Surgery, Osaka Graduate School of Medicine. Today, Cuorips is assisting investigator-initiated clinical research*** of the allogeneic iPSC-derived cardiomyocyte sheet, conducted by Osaka University on patients suffering from serious heart failure. The company is also working on establishing a supply system, commencing the operation of cell culture and processing facilities for manufacturing investigational agents for the sheet and producing the sheet in commercial quantities.
Fujifilm has decided to invest in Cuorips to expand business through the partnership with this biotech venture. The investment also coincides with the signing of a business partnership agreement between the two companies, which gives Fujifilm the priority negotiation right for contract development and manufacturing of Cuorips’ allogeneic iPSC-derived cardiomyocyte sheet in the United States.
Fujifilm plans to use the therapeutic iPSC manufacturing facility (cGMP*4-compliant) of FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc., its U.S. subsidiary and a leading developer and manufacturer of iPSC, to expand the contract development and manufacturing business for regenerative medicine products, such as cell therapeutics.
Fujifilm will expand its drug discovery support business and promote contract development and manufacturing business for regenerative medicine products and effective R&D in collaboration with partners, thereby contribute to industrialization of regenerative medicine.
- *An illness in which a narrowed or blocked artery decreases blood flow to cardiac muscles.
- **A sheet-format cell therapeutic that contains cardiomyocytes, produced from human iPSCs, as the main ingredient.
- ***Clinical research in which investigators handle and oversee all processes from planning to actual clinical testing and compilation of results.
- *4cGMP stands for current Good Manufacturing Practice. It is a set of the most up-to-date regulations enforced by the U.S. Foods and Drugs Administration to manage the manufacturing practices and quality of pharmaceuticals and quasi-drug products.