TOKYO, June 4, 2020 ― FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) announces that it invested 100 million yen into a biotech venture, Rege Nephro Co., Ltd., through underwriting its third-party allocation of shares. Rege Nephro is a venture that aims to establish practical applications of its method based on the use of iPSCs for kidney disease treatment.
Through the investment in Rege Nephro, Fujifilm plans to expand its business by accessing the venture’s technology and know-how for producing iPSC-derived nephron progenitor cells and reinforcing partnership with the venture. Under the business partnership agreement also signed this time, Fujifilm is given first negotiation rights including the right to provide the process development and manufacturing service of regenerative medicine products, using iPSC-derived nephron progenitor cells, in its US manufacturing facility and the right to distribute these cells for drug discovery research in Japan.
The kidneys have the function of filtering blood, removing wastes and turning them into urine. Once the kidneys lose this functionality, it is never regained, resulting in kidney failure. There is no fundamental treatment for kidney diseases, which are instead managed with dialysis or kidney transplant. These options, however, cause a significant physical and financial strain on patients, and there is also a shortage of kidneys for transplantation. For investigating new treatment options, there is a growing attention to the use of nephron progenitor cells*1, a type of cells that develop into kidneys, amidst expectations that these cells may be used to repair or rebuild kidneys. However, nephron progenitor cells in humans disappear before birth, making it difficult to obtain them.
Rege Nephro, a biotech venture originating from Kyoto University, used technology developed by Kyoto University Professor Kenji Osafune to efficiently differentiate nephron progenitor cells from iPSCs, to successfully achieve stable production of nephron progenitor cells. Rege Nephro currently researches and develops regenerative medicine products using these cells for kidney diseases, while also producing kidney organoids*2 capable of nephrotoxicity screening for drug discovery in applied research.
Fujifilm will continue to further expand its business by accelerating R&D of its own regenerative medicine products while also providing manufacturing services on regenerative medicine products and distributing cells for drug discovery research.
About Fujifilm’s regenerative medicine business
Fujifilm is committed to expanding its business operations and contributing to the establishment of the regenerative medicine industry by utilizing an array of technologies including Fujifilm’s own engineering technologies, nurtured and evolved through the development of highly function materials and other broad-ranging products, with a diverse range of technologies held by its subsidiaries. They include therapeutic cell production technologies of Japan Tissue Engineering Co., Ltd., a Fujifilm subsidiary that developed and introduced Japan’s first approved regenerative medicine product to the market; iPSC-related technologies and know-how held by FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc., a leading company in iPSC development, manufacturing and marketing; and culturing media technologies of FUJIFILM Wako Pure Chemical Corporation and FUJIFILM Irvine Scientific, Inc., which offer the development, manufacturing and marketing of cell culturing media.
< Overview of Rege Nephro >
- Company name
Rege Nephro Co., Ltd.
Medical Innovation Building, 53 Shogoin Kawahara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, Japan
- Paid-in capital
10 million yen
R&D, production and marketing of renal disease therapeutics
Corporate Communications Division
Regenerative Medicine Business Division