"Regenerative Medicine Crossroad® in Tokyo #10" was held at the Nihonbashi Life Science Building Conference Room #201 on September 25, 2019 (Wednesday). The event was organized by the Forum for Innovative Regenerative Medicine (FIRM) and the Kanto Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry of METI and was co-organized by LINK-J.
One of the urgent tasks to accelerate the industrialization of the regenerative medicine and cell and gene therapy in Japan is to increase the number of clinical development programs. Therefore, encouraging overseas developers to bring their programs to Japan is an obviously beneficial strategy that cannot be overlooked. This series of events were designed and have been held for those who are keen to bring their programs to Japan to provide opportunities for collaborations with established Japanese companies in the field. The engagement of these Japanese companies may well be a critical element for their product development and eventual launch into the market. Through a seminar and concurrent one-on-one partnering meetings, the tenth edition of this series facilitated dialogues and networking between Japanese companies and those who are seeking partners.
① Opening Address: Akihiko Soyama（LINK-J）
② Housekeeping: Fuyuhiko Mori (Regenerative Medicine Crossroad® Organizer）
③ Presentations [Participating Company (Country)（Speaker）]：
1) EUTILEX Co., Ltd. (Republic of Korea) (Agustin de la Calle, PhD; CBO)
2) Innovacell Biotechnologie AG (Austria) (Dr. Ekkehart Steinhuber; CEO)
3) Kyoto University（Japan）（Yuki Yamamoto, MD, PhD; Department of Drug Discovery for Lung Diseases, Assistant Professor）
4) Cellatoz Therapeutics, Inc. (Republic of Korea) (Jaeseung Lim, PhD; CEO & CSO, President)
5) Thrive Bioscience, Inc. (USA) (Thomas Forrest Farb-Horch; CEO, President & Co-Founder/Sadashi Suzuki, MBA；Sr. Adviser)
6) Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (United Kingdom)（Hidetoshi Hoshiya, PhD; Transaction Manager - Asia & Oceania）
EUTILEX： R&D of Immunooncology
Dr. Agustin de la Calle gave an overview of the "cancer immunotherapy" treatment being developed by EUTILEX. He further discussed the mode of action of this treatment, focusing on "4-1BB (CD137) T-cell immunotherapy" as well as the possibility of using this approach for the treatment of various other cancers.
Innovacell Biotechnologie： R&D of Autologous Cell Therapy for Urinary and Fecal Incontinence
Dr. Ekkehart Steinhuber gave a lecture on the autologous cell therapies for urinary and fecal incontinence that are being developed by Innovacell Biotechnologie. ICES13 and ICES15 are clinical-stage cell therapies designed for patients with urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence, respectively. In these treatments, myoblasts are extracted from the patient's own pectoral muscles before they are proliferated and injected into the urethral or anal tissues of the patient using an ultrasound-guided ejection technology developed by the company. More than 1,000 patients have received these treatments through the 9 clinical trials in total conducted to date.
Kyoto University： iPSC-based Drug Discovery Support and R&D of Regenerative Medicine for Respiratory Diseases
Dr. Yuki Yamamoto, a specialist in respiratory medicine, presented a technique for inducing the differentiation of alveolar epithelial cells from iPSCs and a drug discovery platform that harnesses this technique. He discussed how the human alveolar cell will be a useful tool for drug discovery research (including a review of its efficacy and toxicity). He further shared his enthusiasm for launching a respiratory medicine startup in the future that will provide this drug discovery platform.
Cellatoz Therapeutics： R&D of Cell Therapy Drugs using Skeletal Muscle-derived Stem Cells and Tonsil-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Dr. Jaeseung Lim described their platform--cell therapy technologies utilizing skeletal muscle-derived stem cells (SMSCs) and tonsil-derived mesenchymal stem cells (TMSCs). CLZ-1001 is an SMSC with the potential to be used in the treatment of fractures resulting from osteoporosis as well as the regeneration of cartilage and periodontal tissues. TMSCs can be differentiated into various cells with the potential to be used in cell therapy drugs that are effective in treating a variety of diseases.
Thrive Bioscience： Development of Automated Cell Culture Equipment using Image Analysis Technology for Cell Culture
Mr. Thomas Forrest Farb-Horch and Mr. Sadashi Suzuki presented the technology developed by their company, which facilitates automated continuous cell culture system featuring automatic replacement of culture medium using their proprietary image acquisition and analysis technologies. The speakers also introduced the automated cell culture device Alpaca™ developed utilizing these technologies to resolve issues in cell culture such as the reproducibility and sterility of the culture.
Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult： Accelerating Development of Cell and Gene Therapy Products
Dr. Hidetoshi Hoshiya gave an overview of CGT Catapult, which was established with the goal of promoting the growth of the cell and gene therapy industry. CGT Catapult offers assistance to companies that are engaged in R&D related to cell and gene therapy to allow them to manufacture products to meet higher safety standards, in larger quantities, and at a lower cost.
＜One-on-One partnering meeting＞
In total, 31 one-on-one individual meetings were organized concurrently with the seminar to facilitate networking between the speakers of this event and representatives from Japanese companies in the field of regenerative medicine and cell and gene therapy.
A networking mixer was held after the seminar and individual meetings were concluded.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to all 102 participants from local pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies and from other industry sectors that are engaged in the field of regenerative medicine and cell and gene therapy.
The next edition of this series, Regenerative Medicine Crossroad® in Tokyo #11, will be held on February 6, 2020 (Thursday). We look forward to seeing you again.