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Fujifilm invests in regenerative medicine venture company NC Medical Research

Concludes business partnership contract for development and manufacture under contract of regenerative medicine products

September 27, 2017

On September 25, FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) invested ¥430 million in the regenerative medicine venture company NC Medical Research, Inc. (hereinafter “NC Medical”) with NC Medical granting Fujifilm a stock allocation. As a result of this transaction, Fujifilm acquired approximately 6% of NC Medical's total equity. NC Medical is a regenerative medicine venture company aiming to commercialize regenerative medicine products for the treatment of stroke in the acute phase*. Concurrent with the investment, the two companies also, at the end of August 2017, signed a business partnership agreement for the contract development and manufacturing of regenerative medicine products for NC Medical.

Through the investment and business partnership, Fujifilm will be contracted by NC Medical to develop the processes required for the large-scale culture of the mesenchymal stem cells** needed for the regenerative medicine product NCS-01 (currently under development, indicated for acute phase stroke) in addition to cell cultivation and formulation, expanding the company's business for the development and manufacture of regenerative medicine products under contract. In addition, Fujifilm will also acquire the knowledge and know-how required for the application of mesenchymal stem cells to medical treatment.

Strokes result when cerebral blood vessels are blocked, preventing blood flow resulting in the death or damage of brain tissue. In Japan, there are reported to be approximately 300,000 new stroke patients every year. Current treatment for stroke in the acute phase usually involves the administration of thrombolytic agents designed to remove blood vessel blockages, but in many cases when the drugs cannot be provided within 4.5 hours of the stroke, patient fatality rises or serious after-effects involves.

NC Medical is advancing the research and development of regenerative medicine products for the treatment of stroke in the acute phase which use mesenchymal stem cells derived from allogenic*** bone marrow. The company has already established technology that makes use of unique culturing methods in order to select cells effective for the regeneration of brain cells damaged by stroke from among the harvested mesenchymal stem cells. From the fiscal year ending March 2019 onwards, the company intends to harness this technology to start clinical trials in Japan and the US.

Fujifilm is working to expand its business developing and manufacturing medicine products under contract for third parties. The business is principally conducted through the group company Japan Tissue Engineering Co., Ltd. (hereinafter “J-TEC”), which developed and launched Japan's first regenerative medicine products. Currently, J-TEC is harnessing the company's cumulative knowledge on cell cultivation and product quality control in order to provide a wide range of contracted services such as the development of regenerative medicine products and consulting on pharmaceutical affairs.

Going forward, Fujifilm will, in addition to working under contract to develop and manufacture NCS-01, the regenerative medicine product under development by NC Medical, work to further expand its businesses.

Fujifilm is contributing to the establishment and development of the regenerative medicines industry by fusing the engineering technology and technology for the development of highly-functional materials developed through long years of research into photographic film with the technology for the production of therapeutic cells held by J-TEC and the world-leading iPS cell related technology and know-how held by the US company Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. Fujifilm is also contributing to this goal by accelerating in-house research and development into regenerative medicine products and expanding its business for the development and manufacture of regenerative medicine products under contract for third parties.

  • * The period of several weeks commencing with the onset of stroke is known as the acute phase, which is distinguished from the chronic phase beginning after the passage of a certain time. Effective treatments differ in each respective phase.
  • ** Mesenchymal stem cells are stem cells found in the body that have a certain degree of pluripotency and proliferative capacity. Currently, more than 1000 clinical research projects are underway to investigate the potential of the cells to treat various conditions including not only stroke but also cartilage damage, ischemic heart failure and lower limb ischemia. The cells are expected to produce significant clinical benefits and have also been proved to show high levels of safety.
  • *** Allogenic bone marrow refers to bone marrow extracted from anyone other than the patient. Allogenic bone marrow can be formed in advance into a cell therapy treatment, leading to improved treatment convenience.
<Summary of NC Medical Research, Inc.>
Company name NC Medical Research, Inc.
President Keishin Sasaki
Address 17th floor, Shiroyama Trust Tower, Toranomon 4-3-1, Minato Ward, Tokyo
Foundation December 14, 2004
Paid-in capital ¥30 million
Principal businesses Research, development and licensing of cell therapy products

For enquiries on information in this media release, contact:

Media Contact:
Corporate Communications Division
TEL: +81 3-6271-2000
Other Contact:
Regenerative Medicine Division
TEL: +81 3-6271-3030