Japan’s Ricoh Company will work with US company Elixirgen Scientific to develop innovative biomedical products and services supporting drug discovery based on cell differentiation technology.
Under this strategic business partnership, the two companies plan to grow this biomedical business into a $1.86 billion business by 2025.
Together they will support drug discovery through the manufacture and delivery of cells differentiated from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, cell chips seeded with precisely differentiated cells, and evaluation services for drug responses.
As part of the agreement, Ricoh will acquire a 34.5% stake in Elixirgen Scientific and launch a biomedical business in North America this year.
Elixirgen Scientific owns Quick-Tissue technology that can induce iPS cells and embryonic stem cells to various types of cells directly, and this technology achieves highly efficient and homogeneous cell differentiation within just 10 days.
It is expected that disease specific iPS cells, which means iPS cells derived from patients with that disease, can be used as a disease model for drug screening.
As differentiated cells manufactured in this process have functions close to mature cells, those cells show phenotypes specific to that disease very well.
Ricoh’s bioprinting technology enables precise control of the number and placement of cells using its inkjet head technology, which has been perfected over the last 40 years.