iPS-derived blood products ready for mass production

Jiji Press KYOTO (Jiji Press) — Japanese startup Megakaryon Corp. said Monday that it has established a method to mass-produce blood products by making platelets from human induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cells.

The company, based in the western Japan city of Kyoto, aims to start clinical trials for the products in 2018 and obtain regulatory approval in 2020 for production and sales.

Megakaryon hopes to supply 10-20 percent of blood platelet products used in Japan. About 800,000 blood transfusions a year are carried out in the country.

Blood platelet products are mainly used to treat bleeding in surgeries, but all of them currently come from blood donations.

There is concern that Japan may face a chronic shortage of blood platelet products, which become unusable only four days after blood donations, due to falls in the nation’s younger population.

Megakaryon succeeded in mass-producing the blood platelet products thanks to cooperation from drug and chemical makers in ensuring high quality of the products.

The startup obtained cooperation from 15 companies, including Nissan Chemical Industries Ltd., Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory Inc., Kawasumi Laboratories Inc., Sysmex Corp. and Cmic Holdings Co.

Megakaryon was established in September 2011 to commercialize technology to make blood platelets from iPS cells that was developed by researchers including University of Tokyo Prof. Hiromitsu Nakauchi and Prof. Koji Eto of Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application.Speech

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