TOKYO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cellusion Inc., a regenerative medicine startup aiming to solve the global Corneal transplant waiting list problem with a unique differentiation induction method from iPS cells to Corneal Endothelial Cell Substitute from iPS Cells (CECSi Cells) for bullous keratopathy novel treatment (PJ code: CLS001), today announced it has completed a 1.1 billion yen fundraising round led by existing investors DBJ Capital, Keio Innovation Initiative, and SMBC Venture Capital and new investors Gemseki, Toho Holding, Toyo Seikan Group Holdings and University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners. The new round brings Cellusion’s total funding in the past year to 1.7 billion yen.
[Use of the Funding]
Cellusion will use the funding to prepare for the company-sponsored phase 1/2 clinical trials of CLS001 in Japan and overseas, enlarge both of its Tokyo-based research and business teams, and proceed with R&D activities of other pipelines. In addition, by promoting business cooperation with Toho Holdings, Japan-based pharmaceutical wholesaler, and Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, a Japanese multinational conglomerate packaging materials manufacturer, to build the supply chain of CLS001. Cellusion will enhance its efforts to deliver CLS001 for bullous keratopathy patients all over the world.
In spite of the fact that more than 13 million waiting patients for potential blinding diseases such as Bullous Keratopathy, which can only be prevented by corneal transplantation, only about 180,000 corneal transplants are performed annually worldwide. The reason for such a large medical supply-demand gap generated is because current treatments require donor corneas, skilled corneal transplant ophthalmologists, and Eye Banks.
Cellusion is developing CLS001, CECSi cells for Corneal Endothelial regeneration to cure Bullous Keratopathy which is applied more than half of all cases of corneal transplantation. CLS001 is expected to replace the current supply limitations by combining “CECSi Cells made from iPS cells with excellent proliferative properties” and “a simple injection cell delivery procedure without needs of human expertise.“
The initiation approval of the CLS001 first in human investigator-initiated clinical study has already been obtained from the Keio University Specially Certified Committee for Regenerative Medicine as well as the Health Sciences Council of MHLW, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan in July 2021. Keio University and Cellusion are scheduled to start the study at Keio University Hospital as soon as it is ready.
[About Cellusion Inc.]
Cellusion is a regenerative medicine startup born from the Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine in 2015. Cellusion aims to contribute to the improvement of health and well-being around the world by solving unmet medical needs in medicine with its cutting-edge cell therapy technologies, including a unique differentiation induction method from iPS cells to CECSi Cells. Cellusion’s mission is to a community the clear vision of the future with cellular technology breakthrough.
Company: Cellusion Inc.
CEO: Shin Hatou, M.D., Ph.D.
Headquarters: 1-13-7 Nihombashi-Muromachi, Chuo, Tokyo 103-0022, JAPAN
Founded: January 2015
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