Metcela Inc. announces receipt of NEDO’s Hashiwatashi Grant for VCF-1 autologous cellular therapy targeting heart failure patients | Metcela Inc.

Metcela Inc., a biotech startup specializing in fibroblast-based cell therapy, announced today that the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has awarded the company with the Hashiwatashi grant (up to 100 million yen) to support research and development activities for VCAM-1-positive Cardiac Fibroblast (VCF-1), leading up to initiation of a clinical trial for heart failure patients in Japan.

Metcela had been developing VCF, a regenerative medicine product for heart failure, since 2016 and successfully confirmed the efficacy of human VCFs in treatment of heart failure in rodent and porcine models. Metcela also established isolation and production processes that yields VCFs of consistent qualities, from human myocardial tissues. With these accomplishments, Metcela initiated a collaboration with the University of Tsukuba, which encompasses basic research and clinical application, in preparation for a human clinical trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of VCFs in the year 2020.

In order to accelerate such preparation, Metcela is planning to work intimately with the Tsukuba Clinical Research & Development Organization (T-CReDO)under the University of Tsukuba and take full advantage of their expertise in seed medical technology promotion and clinical development and trial. Metcela will also work in a close collaboration with clinicians from the cardiology department at the University of Tsukuba Hospital to establish relevant clinical techniques and accumulate safety and efficacy data on VCF treatment for heart failure.

Previously, Metcela has been awarded with two grants by NEDO: Seed-stage Technology-based Startup (STS) grant in 2016 and Startups in Corporate Alliance grant in 2017. Metcela is determined to duly execute the business and research and development plans through equity financing and grant acquisition as well as employment of talented individuals.


【About T-CReDO】
Tsukuba Clinical Research & Development Organization (T-CReDO) was established by the University of Tsukuba to bring together the expertise of research institutes centered around the University of Tsukuba and the Tsukuba Science City in June, 2016. T-CReDO aims to support translational and clinical development of medical seeds born from its member research institutes. T-CReDO also aims to foster young researchers developing new medical technologies and support clinical researchers’ continuing medical education. T-CReDO strives to become an international epicenter of stainable clinical research and development, where accelerated generation of revolutionary medicine, medical device, and regenerative medicine products is promoted to contribute to health and welfare of Japanese citizens.


【About Heart Failure】
Heart failure is a condition in which the ability of the heart to pump blood decreases. As the general population rapidly ages, mortality due to diseases continues to rise, and heart failure is one of the major causes of death. However, a definitive cure for heart failure does not exist yet. Development of a new treatment modality that can promote substantial recovery of heart function and substitute risky heart transplant is highly desired.


About VCF and VCF-1
At Metcela, it was discovered that organs have a variety of different types of fibroblasts, of which VCAM-1-positive Cardiac Fibroblasts (VCFs) have the specific ability to regenerate the damaged heart tissues. Metcela demonstrated that VCFs are well-suited to facilitate construction of functional heart tissue through ease of cell culture expansion and promotion of cardiomyocyte proliferation and migration. A patent for the VCF technology (Cardiac Cell Culture Material; P6241893) has been granted to Metcela in November, 2017, and Metcela is determined to provide regenerative medicine-based treatment to heart failure patients in the near future.

Corporate Overview of Metcela

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


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