A cell culture start-up to fight heart disease with Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and Toppan – 3DPrint.com


Myoridge, a spin-off from Kyoto University, was founded in 2016 as a bio-enterprise, building on patented technology developed at the university’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS). Since then, the company has been cultivating cardiomyocytes from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and supplying them to pharmaceutical companies and universities.

Myoridge has received a lot of attention from other Japanese companies and recently announced 600 million yen ($4.6 million) in financing, capital and business alliances with Mitsubishi Chemical, Sumitomo Chemical and the developer Toppan 3D cell culture. Through these collaborations, the startup will advance the development of its products and services with each company and continuously update and improve its biotechnology infrastructure and cell culture R&D to support its growth.

Aiming to contribute to the development of new drugs, Myoridge induces pluripotent cells (often skin or blood cells taken from an individual and reprogrammed in the laboratory to become embryonic stem cells) into differentiated cells, including myocardial cells, via suspension culture and using low molecular weight compounds instead of expensive proteins. This differentiation induction method is licensed from Kyoto University and helps the startup create cost-effective drug discovery tools.

Considering that many drugs are known to cause or exacerbate heart failure as a side effect, causing direct myocardial toxicity, they should be evaluated for side effects. Except that the cost and time to do so are high. Unfortunately, this has become one of the major challenges in pharmaceutical product development.

Instead, Myoridge claims its iPS cell-derived cardiomyocytes have low manufacturing costs, excellent uniformity, and long-term storage stability. The company uses a culture medium that combines several small molecule compounds without using expensive proteins and serum needed in general cell culture to keep manufacturing costs low. This allows Myoridge to farm at around half the cost of other companies.

In addition to selling iPS cell-derived cardiomyocytes through Kyoto University technology, Myoridge offers comprehensive development support covering all processes related to cell culture, including basic materials, operation methods and l ‘equipment. In addition, Myoridge has its low molecular weight compound database and culture media component research technology and can provide tailor-made services through its low molecular weight culture media development and manufacturing process. cost.

Culture media are essential for cell culture, says Myoridge. However, troubleshooting in a short period of time is considered difficult without specialized knowledge and experience due to the complex combinations of various components that produce effects. In addition, the development of products and services presents several challenges. For example, a common problem in fields such as regenerative medicine, antibodies, cell therapy, and even cultured foods is the difficulty of mass culturing at low cost while maintaining a high level of quality.

Toppan and Myoridge generate a new alliance. Image courtesy of Toppan.

Through the new combination between Toppan and Myoridge, the duo will accelerate the development of Toppan’s 3D cell culture technology and generate new related products and services in the field of cell culture. In addition, the two companies will aim for a stable supply of culture media, the development of culture media that complies with current regulations, and the reduction of the cost of culture media at an increased scale. Going forward, Toppan and Myoridge will lead technical collaboration and joint development, aiming to create new products and services in the field and contribute to a range of industries and their technologies.

A leading commercial printing company, Toppan has grown beyond its traditional offerings. For example, its technical research institute currently conducts R&D activities in the fields of health and life sciences. During drug discovery, Toppan established a joint laboratory with the Japan Cancer Research Foundation to support cancer drug development.

It is also advancing clinical research alternatives instead of mice for drug testing and also proactively collaborating with academic institutions and other companies, having established the Joint Research Laboratory (TOPPAN) for Chemistry of advanced cell regulation at Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering, where he conducts basic research on 3D cell culture in collaboration with Associate Professor Michiya Matsusaki, who works on artificial meat bioprinting steak-like with Kyoto biotech research company Shimadzu was recently featured in 3DPrint.com.

Researchers at Osaka University have created a cultured steak with bioprinting. Researchers at Osaka University have created a cultured steak with bioprinting. Osaka University/Nature Communications

A triple alliance

Through the new collaboration with Myoridge, Mitsubishi Chemical (a leading Mitsubishi portfolio company) will further strengthen its ability to address cell culture challenges and develop growth factors and plant media for cell culture with stable functions and the high quality needed in clinical settings. The deal is part of Mitsubishi’s recently announced “Shaping the Future” policy, which focuses on healthcare and life sciences as strategic markets. The Japanese chemical giant aims to bring new products to these markets and make the approach to regenerative medicine safer for patients with difficult-to-treat diseases.

Mitsubishi Chemical has worked on peripheral materials used in cell cultures for regenerative medicine, drug discovery, biopharmaceuticals and food cultures. One of the goals is to overcome the challenges of using conventional fetal bovine serum-based cell culture media for cell culture. Until now, Mitsubishi has conducted research using plant-based growth factors to reduce costs and avoid ethical issues. But the collaboration with Myoridge could lead to significant advances in cellular developments.

Likewise, through this new partnership, Sumitomo Chemical hopes to accelerate its efforts to promote the use of regenerative medicine and cell therapy. In addition, by bringing together the technological resources of the two companies, they want to improve the quality and reduce the production costs of cellular products, such as iPS cells.

A century-old company, Sumitomo Chemical is a Japanese powerhouse, even listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Sumitomo Chemical sees the regenerative medicine and cell therapy industries as promising areas where it can leverage fundamental cell culture-related technologies cultivated through pharmaceutical research and development and product safety testing. agricultural chemicals.

Through its joint venture S-RACMO, Sumitomo has dipped its feet in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. The recently created company started operations in its manufacturing plant in February 2022 and, thanks to this new agreement with Myoridge, is intensifying its efforts to expand.

This new alliance is great news for Myoridge as it forges ahead in the field of life sciences. Although we still don’t know much about their licensed 3D cell culture technology, we expect the new collaborations to lead to exciting discoveries in the field and improve healthcare for society.


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