Metcela and Nagoya University to Collaborate in Research to Accelerate the Development of Regenerative Medicine | Metcela Inc.
Accelerate development of fibroblast-based pipelines in cardiovascular and respiratory disease areas
Kanagawa, Japan – Metcela Inc. and Nagoya University announced the establishment of the Industry-Academia Collaborative Chair effective in September 2023. This collaboration will launch a comprehensive research and development system for fibroblasts with therapeutic potential to explore and expand their clinical applications for chronic diseases, in the fields of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
■About Nagoya University’s Industry-Academia Collaborative Chair
Nagoya University has established the “Industry-Academia Collaborative Chair” program to promote collaboration between industry, academia, and government. This program accepts funds and human resources from companies and aims to advance and improve Nagoya University’s education and research, as well as to contribute to society. Metcela’s selected researchers will be stationed at Nagoya University as specially-appointed faculty members and researchers, and conduct joint research while taking advantage of Nagoya University’s extensive research facilities and equipment, as well as its experienced human resources and knowledge. By working and training together in the medical community, the two parties can collaborate to develop new pipelines.
■Explore and expand therapeutic applications of fibroblasts
Metcela is a biotechnology company that has succeeded in identifying and mass culturing a population of fibroblasts that have particularly excellent anti-fibrotic and lymphangiogenic properties. A Phase 1 investigator-initiated clinical trial for ischemic chronic heart failure has been initiated as a result of their discovery.
Through the establishment of this collaboration, Metcela will significantly strengthen its basic research system on fibroblasts with therapeutic potential. In addition, by assigning researchers to Nagoya University, Metcela will strengthen its human resources and know-how, develop future leaders who will be responsible for the development of new pipelines, and build a foundation for growth through research and development activities.
Through the joint research, we will promote the elucidation of the mechanism of action of fibroblasts with the aim of expanding their therapeutic application for chronic organ diseases in cardiovascular and respiratory disease areas. We also intend to actively promote the appointment of additional internal and external specially-appointed faculty members.
■Leveraging the past collaboration research results
Metcela and Nagoya University’s Toyoaki Murohara, Professor of Department of Cardiology, have conducted joint research over the past two years to elucidate the mechanism of action of the specific fibroblasts and verify the therapeutic effects in non-ischemic cardiovascular indications.
In addition, through its own research, Metcela has found that certain pulmonary fibroblast populations may have therapeutic potential for chronic respiratory diseases, including fibrosis of the lungs.
■Comments from Participants
Professor Toyoaki Murohara,
Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine
“It is estimated that as many as 1.2 million patients in Japan suffer from symptoms of heart failure. In severe cases of end-stage heart failure, the only treatment options are the use of left ventricular assist devices or heart transplantation. However, heart transplantation has a limited track record in Japan. Metcela has focused on cardiac fibroblasts and discovered a specific population of fibroblasts that improves the function of heart. We are hopeful that this technology will be realized and become a breakthrough regenerative medicine to save patients suffering from heart failure.”
Dr. Sebastian Sjoeqvist,
Manager, R&D Department, Metcela
Designated Lecturer, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine
“I am excited about the groundbreaking collaboration between Nagoya University and Metcela, which is set to advance clinical trials and joint research. This represents a significant step towards accelerating drug discovery in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. By combining industry expertise with academic excellence, this partnership holds promise for pioneering treatments that address current unmet clinical needs. Endorsed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the collaboration aims to enhance human resources and address industry needs. Overall, this partnership not only promises scientific advancement but also holds the potential to significantly improve human health through novel medical solutions.”
This joint research project has been selected for a grant managed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) called “FY2022 Grant for Supporting the Creation of Joint Courses at Institutions of Higher Education”. This grant is intended to subsidize a portion of the project cost to establish and operate courses at universities and other institutions of higher education in order to foster high-level human resources that meet the needs of the industrial sector. Through this joint research with Nagoya University, Metcela will provide its employees with opportunities to improve their research skills and advance their careers.
■ Supplementary information
Outline of Industry-Academia Collaborative Chair
- Course Name: Advanced Regenerative medicine Consortium for Human resource Enhancement Research (A.R.C.H.E.R)
- Contract Start Date: September 1, 2023
- Location: Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Basic Research Building
- Reference information: https://www.aip.nagoya-u.ac.jp/sanren/industry-joint/lecture
- Joint Research Partner: Toyoaki Murohara, Professor, and Yuuki Shimizu, Assistant Professor of Department of Cardiology
Koji Sakamoto, Respiratory Medicine Hospital Lecturer
*Collaborative research includes some plans.
Outline of the “Grant for Supporting the Creation of Joint Courses of Study at Institutions of Higher Education”
- Project Title: Advanced Regenerative medicine Consortium for Human resource Enhancement Research (A.R.C.H.E.R)
- Project Period: Fiscal year 2022
- Reference information: https://jissui.or.jp/project/project013/
Metcela Inc., established in 2016, is a clinical-stage biotechnology startup pioneering the research and development of fibroblast and stem cell-based therapy for chronic diseases that currently have limited therapeutic options. MTC001 is a combination product of autologous cardiac cells (VCAM-1-positive Cardiac Fibroblast, VCF) and a novel catheter delivery system targeting chronic heart failure patients. MTC001 offers two major advantages over other cell therapies: (1) the therapeutic cells are autologous (patient-derived) and homologous (tissue-specific i.e. cardiac-derived), which is most suitable for the heart, as it is a highly immunogenic organ, and (2) the minimally invasive catheter system is equipped with a highly functional injection needle specifically designed for this therapy to achieve reliable and safe administration of the cells.
■About Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine
Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine and School of Medicine is one of the oldest medical schools in Japan, with its origins in the Owari domain school, boasting 150 years of history and approximately 13,000 graduates. Continuing to develop while inheriting its history, we aim to become one of the world’s leading research universities, with the creation of new medicine and medical care as one of our philosophies.