Metcela raises 520 million yen in Series A financing round | Metcela Inc.

With this financing, Metcela has now raised a total of 920 Million yen including the previous investments and grants

Metcela, a biotech startup specializing in fibroblast-based cell therapy for heart failure treatment, announced the successful closing of its 520 million yen ($4.6 million) Series A round. The round was led by Beyond Next Ventures, with additional participation from new investors, Eight Road Ventures Japan, F-Prime Capital Partners, Japan Lifeline Co., Ltd., Sony Innovation Fund, The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited, and KSP Inc. With this financing, Metcela has raised a total sum of 920 million yen ($8.2 million), including previously raised investments and grants.

Metcela Inc. is an early-stage biotechnology company that researches and develops cell-based therapy. Since its establishment on March 2016, Metcela has been focusing on the development of “VCF” or VCAM1-positive Cardiac Fibroblast, a cell-based therapy to provide an alternative therapy option for those with heart failure. With this financing, Metcela aims to develop effective cell delivery system, conduct safety and efficacy experiments, and prepare for the first-in-human Phase I clinical trial. Metcela is also planning to expand the research team and collaborate with the other research institutions, and pursue to develop new product pipelines by taking advantage of its proprietary cell therapy-related technologies.

This financing round was led by Beyond Next Ventures, with additional participation from new venture capital investors including Eight Roads Ventures Japan, F-Prime Capital Partners and KSP, Inc. In addition, Japan Lifeline Co., Inc., Sony Innovation Fund and The Dai-ichi Life Insurance, Limited, also participated in the round. Metcela will fully utilize the knowledge, technologies and the wide range of global networks that the investors possess to further expand business opportunities and strategize for the overseas expansion.

Metcela also announces the appointment of Hiroshi Shinagawa, J.D., the partner lawyer at Kinkadori Law Office, as its new external auditor. His addition will strengthen its corporate governance and execution of the business.

【List of Investors】

  • Beyond Next Ventures Inc.
  • Eight Roads Ventures Japan
  • F-Prime Capital Partners
  • Japan Lifeline Co., Ltd.
  • Sony Innovation Fund
  • The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited
  • KSP, Inc.

<About newly appointed external auditor,
Hiroshi Shinagawa, J.D.>

Mr. Hiroshi Shinagawa attended the Hamada & Matsumoto law firm (now, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto law firm) in October 2002, engaged in general corporate affairs, mainly in the finance field, then studied at the University of Southern California law school. After being seconded to the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley Japan Securities Co., Ltd., (now Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd.), since January 2012 he has supported a number of venture companies as a partner lawyer at Kinkadori Law Office, and also serves as an outside corporate auditor of several companies.

【About investors of this round】

<About Beyond Next Ventures>
Beyond Next Ventures, founded in August 2014, is a venture capital which invests in startups with innovative technologies in seed or early stages, especially those that began at universities and with other academic institutions. The first fund established in February 2015 has committed a capital of JPY5.5 Billion (approx. 55 million USD). Beyond Next Ventures is qualified as a certificated VC of national programs such as NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization), START (Program for Start-ups from Advanced Research & Technology) and AMED (Japan Agency of Medical Research and Development). They have recently started an acceleration program called Blockbuster Tokyo, in conjunction with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to contribute to global health and transform Tokyo into an international hub for drug development by fostering a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.

About Eight Roads Ventures Japan / F-Prime Capital Partners>
Eight Roads is the proprietary investment arm of FIL, Fidelity International Limited with offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangalore, Shanghai, Mumbai, London and Singapore. We have supported our portfolio companies across Asia and Europe with local knowledge and global networking for more than 20 years. Eight Roads Ventures Japan started investing in 2012 and principally takes stakes in growth stage companies.
F-Prime Capital Partners is a global venture capital firm investing in life sciences, healthcare, and technology. Since 1969, F-Prime has worked closely with entrepreneurs and academics to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most significant challenges in healthcare and technology.

<About Japan Lifeline Co., Ltd.>
Japan Lifeline Co., Ltd. was founded in 1981 as a trading company specializing in medical devices in the cardiovascular field. Since then, the company has established its unique business model in which it has the trading company function that brings cutting-edge products from overseas manufacturers to Japan, and also the manufacturing function that develops and produces in-house products, reflecting needs of clinical practice. The company has business bases to cover all over Japan and close ties with physicians and medical institutions that are leading innovations in the cardiovascular field. Making use of such superior business resources, Japan Lifeline is pursuing initiatives to provide excellent medical devices to clinical settings.

<About Sony Innovation Fund>
Sony Innovation Fund is dedicated to engaging with promising early-stage companies. Beyond investment, our mission is to provide access to the broader Sony world and its global network and collaborate with startups to foster business creation in new and existing areas of interest to Sony, catalyze a talented and passionate team, develop innovative and scalable technology, and explore new and emerging ecosystems

<About The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited>The Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company, Limited was founded in 1902 as the first mutual company in Japan. Since then, Dai-ichi Life became the first major Japanese life insurer to be listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2010, and in 2016 it shifted to a holding company structure. Throughout its history, Dai-ichi Life has consistently taken on the challenge of transforming itself for its customers and society. Dai-ichi Life manages approximately \35 trillion of assets as an institutional investor. While taking into consideration the characteristics of life insurance policy liabilities, Dai-ichi Life conducts asset management with a focus on ALM, mainly investing in fixed-income assets. From the viewpoint of improving profitability, Dai-ichi Life also actively invests in start-ups, focusing on areas that have high affinity with its life insurance business, such as medical/healthcare and Fintech fields.

<About KSP, Inc>
KSP, Inc supports the start-up of business ventures and the growth of early and middle-stage companies as the core organization of the Kanagawa Science Park. We have set up our investment funds as a support system that provides direct investment. Our funds have been invested in mainly high-technology ventures at their early stages where rapid growth is expected. We operate 4 funds (totalling 5.01 billion yen), and 10 companies have gone public to date. Investment for Metcela Inc.was invested from KSP fund No. 5 ,new formed in October 2017.

【About Heart Failure】
Heart failure is a complex condition in which the ability of the heart to pump blood, for various possible causes, decrease. Majority of currently available treatment options only prevents the progress of the symptoms and preserve quality of life, and thus, is unable to cure the irreversible ailment.

【About VCF】
Metcela discovered VCAM-1-positive Cardiac Fibroblasts (VCF), a specific type of fibroblast that re-establishes favorable microenvironment within the damaged heart tissues. Metcela’s intellectual property is covered by a patent granted in October, 2017 under the title of “Cardiac Cell Culture Material” (P6241893) in Japan.

Corporate Overview

Headquarter: Suehiro-machi, Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata
Research Center: Life Innovation Center 3-25-22 Tonomachi, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 210-0821
Co-CEOs: Takahiro Iwamiya, Kenichi Nogami
Foundation: March 2016


<For more information, please contact>
Public Relations at Metcela