Cellusion received the MEXT Minister’s Award
under the Award for Academic Startups 2023


Cellusion Inc. (CEO: Shin Hatou, M.D. Ph.D., “Cellusion”), a deep tech start-up who is developing iPS cell-derived corneal endothelial cell substitute for the treatment of bullous keratopathy, announced the company received the Award of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Minister under the Award for Academic Startups 2023 program.

Cellusion was awarded based on the evaluation of its development promotion system for establishing a new treatment for bullous keratopathy using iPS cell-derived corneal endothelial cell substitute, its steady progress in clinical research, the potential to overcome the challenges of conventional methods and the expectation to become a hope for patients on the global corneal transplantation waiting list.

Our CEO, Shin Hatou, will make an award-winning pitch at “Innovation Japan 2023 -University Fair and Business Matching-” on Thursday, August 24, 2023.

[About the Award for Academic Startups]
Since its inauguration in 2014, the Award for Academic Startups program has been honoring promising, excellent university-developed start-ups selected from among venture businesses that make use of the research and development outcomes achieved by universities and other institutions. The program also especially seeks to honor universities, companies, and other entities that have contributed to the growth of such start-ups.
It aims to further promote the establishment of businesses that make use of R&D outcomes achieved by universities or other entities, encourage start-ups to innovate further, and encourage universities and companies to support university-developed start-ups.

[Comment from Cellusion, CEO, Shin Hatou]
I am very honored to receive this prestigious award.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all related companies and university professors for their tremendous support.
Since graduating from Keio University School of Medicine in 1998, I have specialized in corneal transplants as a clinical ophthalmologist. In parallel with my clinical activities as a doctor, I have been conducting doctoral research on regenerative medicine for the cornea and studying the possibility of using iPS cells for corneal endothelial regenerative medicine. I decided to pursue the practical application of the technology and established Cellusion in 2015.
To date, we have raised 4.5 billion yen, increased the number of members to more than 20, and are all working together to drive forward our R&D activities. Encouraged by this award, we are determined to push forward with further research to provide new treatments to patients awaiting corneal transplants.
I feel that the environment surrounding start-up companies in Japan is improving with the development of the venture ecosystem. Together with those of you who are taking on new challenges, I would like to contribute to increasing the presence of Japanese start-ups in the global market.

[Comment from supporting university: Keio University and Fujita Health University, Professor, Shigeto Shimmura]
Congratulations on receiving the MEXT Minister’s Award in the Award for Academic Startups 2023.
CLS001 has been in research and development for over 10 years with Dr. Hatou and the Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University Hospital. We are very pleased and deeply moved by the results of our joint research with Cellusion, which will begin physician-led clinical research in 2022.
There is still a difficult road ahead, but I am confident that Cellusion will make this technology practical on a global scale. I look forward to the day when this technology contributes to the health of people around the world. I wish you continued success in this endeavor.

[Comment from supporting company: Nikon CeLL innovation Co. Ltd., President, Toshiyuki Nakayama]
We would like to congratulate Cellusion on receiving the MEXT Minister’s Award in the Award for Academic Startups 2023.
We have been working with Cellusion since 2019, starting with the development of CLS001, and we are now working closely with them toward GCTP/GMP commercial production using Nikon CeLL innovation’s production facilities. We will continue to collaborate tightly with Cellusion to deliver high-quality cell products to patients as an infrastructure supporting regenerative medicine, and we hope to contribute to the development of regenerative medicine in Japan.
We look forward to your continued success in the future.

[About CLS001]
CLS001 is alternative cell to corneal endothelial cells produced by efficiently differentiating iPS cells, which can be differentiated into various types of cells, based on Cellusion’s proprietary technique. Cellusion is promoting the development of CLS001 as a therapeutic regenerative medicine product for bullous keratopathy, which accounts for more than half of the corneal transplant cases, by combining “CECSi Cells* made from iPS cells with excellent proliferative properties” and “a simple injection cell delivery procedure without needs of human expertise.” Cellusion is also advancing preparations for company-sponsored clinical trials in Japan, as well as preparations for global clinical trials.
*CECSi Cells: Corneal Endothelial Cell Substitute from iPS Cells

[About Bullous Keratopathy]
Bullous keratopathy is a rare disease that occurs when corneal endothelial cells, which control the amount of fluid at the inner-most part of the cornea, decrease due to eye surgery of cataract or genetic factors, resulting in problems with their function, whereby the cornea becomes swollen and causes visual impairment due to opacity. This disease is progressive and may lead to blindness if left untreated. Today, this disease can only be treated by transplanting normally functioning corneal endothelial cells via corneal transplant. Nevertheless, as with other organ transplants, corneal transplants are also facing a serious problem of donor shortage. In Japan alone, it is estimated that there are about 10,000 patients, and in the global survey conducted in 2013 it was reported that approximately 13 million patients are waiting for corneal transplants.

[About Cellusion]
Cellusion is a regenerative medicine start-up originating from the Department of Ophthalmology, Keio University School of Medicine, with “Regenerating Human Potential” as its mission and “More Freedom and More Smiles to the World” as its vision. Based on patented technology such as its proprietary technique of efficiently producing corneal endothelial substitute cell from iPS cells, Cellusion is promoting R&D aimed at meeting medical needs from the perspective of “patient centricity” by leveraging cutting-edge regenerative medicine technology, including the lead program CLS001 that aims to meet the global corneal transplant demands.

Company: Cellusion Inc.
CEO: Shin Hatou, M.D., Ph.D.
Headquarters: 8-6 Nihonbashi-Kobuna, Chuo, Tokyo 103-0024, JAPAN
Founded: January 2015

For further information: please ask us through the contact form on our website.

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