Fujifilm To Invest $918 M in Biopharma Start-up CuoripsBy
Fujifilm Corporation has agreed to invest JYP 100 million ($918 million) into Cuorips, a Tokyo-based start-up company developing regenerative medicines for treating heart failure, through underwriting a third-party allocation of shares. It also signed a contract development and manufacturing agreement with Cuorips.
Cuorips was established in March 2017 based on technology and research results of Osaka University to develop and commercialize treatments for heart failure using induced-pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The company is developing iPS cell-derived cardiomyocyte sheets, which are an allogeneic cell therapeutic product mainly composed of cardiomyocytes (iPS myocardium), differentiated from human iPS cells that are processed into a sheet and transplanted onto the surface of patient’s heart with the intended therapeutic effects of improving heart function and recovery from heart failure in patients. Cuorips is assisting investigator-initiated clinical research of the allogeneic iPSC-derived cardiomyocyte sheet, conducted by Osaka University, in patients with serious heart failure.
In addition to Fujifilm now investing in the company, its principal shareholders (as of December 2020) were Daiichi Sankyo, Kyoto University Innovation Capital, Terumo Corp., Taiko Pharmaceutical, Mitsubishi Corp., StemCell Institute and DAI-DAN Company. As of December 2020, the company had 35 employees.
In addition to investing in the company, Fujifilm also signed a business partnership agreement that gives Fujifilm the priority negotiation right for contract development and manufacturing of Cuorips’ allogeneic iPSC-derived cardiomyocyte sheet in the US. Fujifilm plans to use the therapeutic iPSC manufacturing facility of Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics, its US subsidiary and a developer and manufacturer of iPSC.
Cuorips is also working on establishing a supply system. In September 2020, Cuorips opened a new cell processing facility in Minoh City, Osaka, Japan, for first manufacturing investigational agents for the cardiomyocyte sheet and later for producing commercial quantities, which is estimated in 2023.