Fujifilm Invests in PhenoVista Biosciences from its Life Sciences Corporate Venture Capital Fund
Investment will Accelerate Development of New High-Content Screening Assay Services Using Differentiated iPSCs
December 13, 2022
TOKYO, December 14, 2022 – FUJIFILM Corporation (President and CEO, Representative Director: Teiichi Goto) today announces its investment in PhenoVista Biosciences (PhenoVista), a contract research organization (CRO) and leading provider of both custom and off-the-shelf imaging-based assay services based in San Diego, CA. Fujifilm and PhenoVista will accelerate the development of new high-content screening (HCS) assay services using FUJIFILM iCell® differentiated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and PhenoVista’s cutting-edge imaging technologies. This investment is from the Life Sciences Corporate Venture Capital (LS-CVC) strategic investment fund.
This investment builds upon the existing strategic alliance between FUJIFILM Corporation subsidiary, FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc., a leading global developer and manufacturer of human iPSCs, and PhenoVista. FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics aims to further expand its drug-discovery business through this alliance initiated in November 2021 by collaboratively developing high-content, imaging-based assays using human iPSC-derived differentiated cells, which are highly relevant biological systems. These HCS assay services using iPSCs are capable of monitoring complex intracellular functions, such as cell health, mitochondrial health, and synapse formation in individual human cells that are involved in disease progression, supporting pharmaceutical companies in their drug-discovery processes.
The new funding enables Fujifilm to access PhenoVista’s cutting-edge, imaging technologies and expertise and further strengthens the companies’ existing alliance. The new investment will fund the creation of new, off-the-shelf Ready-2-Go Assay Services at PhenoVista using a broad range of FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics’ iCell offerings. This new assay platform is designed to accelerate the discovery and development of safe, efficacious therapies. In addition, Fujifilm and PhenoVista will coordinate marketing to broaden market adoption of new iPSC-based, discovery research tools.
“Fujifilm is committed to solving societal issues through the creation of new values from the alignment with partners that offer technological capabilities for a strategic fit with our life sciences portfolio,” said Takatoshi Ishikawa, general manager of Life Sciences Strategy Headquarters, FUJIFILM Corporation. “The investment through the LS-CVC fund consolidates the partnership with PhenoVista to accelerate pioneering the field of iPSC-derived services, which helps ensure that more patients get new treatments they need faster.”
“Fujifilm brings a wealth of expertise in imaging to the life sciences arena, and in collaboration with PhenoVista, will continue to help our shared customers with their efficient drug-discovery processes through the combination of highly relevant, human cell types and powerful HCS capabilities and experience,” said Tomoyuki Hasegawa, president and CEO, FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc. “This investment will continue to support the growth and expansion of our iCell business in addition to our advanced offering of cell applications by growing customer access to HCS assays using our iPSCs.”
“PhenoVista is truly honored to be a recipient of Fujifilm’s LS-CVC investment fund,” said James G. Evans, CEO and co-founder of PhenoVista Biosciences. “We take pride in our consistent delivery of high-quality, physiologically relevant data, and we have built trust with our clients and collaborators by successfully delivering on difficult projects that are typically outside the capabilities of other research organizations. We are greatly appreciative of Fujifilm’s recognition of our dedication to providing world-class discovery services to our clients. Through this deepening relationship, PhenoVista’s current and future partners and collaborators will have early access to new cell models from Fujifilm, our long-trusted source of validated iPS cell models in the most relevant therapeutic areas, and we will continue to develop new models in both our bespoke and Ready-2-Go service platforms. Fujifilm’s investment will accelerate an exciting phase of growth for PhenoVista, further solidifying our position as the leader in imaging-based analysis of complex cell models.”
Launched in February 2022, LS-CVC is a newly established group within Fujifilm’s Life Sciences Strategy Headquarters in Tokyo. Fujifilm is initially investing 7B¥ (about 50 million USD) to start the fund, targeting cutting-edge biotechnology primarily through partnerships with early-stage companies around the world.