(Left) Gen Funahashi, CEO of ICMG Partners,
(Right) Komei Fukushima, CEO of K Pharma（Photos taken at ICMG Tokyo Office）
May 24th 2022
ICMG Partners Co., Ltd.
ICMG Co-Creation Fund Ⅰ Investment LP
We are pleased to announce that ICMG Co-Creation Fund Ⅰ Investment LP managed by ICMG Partners Co., Ltd. (Head office: Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Gen Funabashi) has invested in K Pharma, Inc. (Head office: Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Komei Fukushima), which is challenging to solve unmet medical needs by utilizing iPS cells. In this round, we have invested a total of approximately 1.55 billion yen with co-investors like DCI Partners, ITOCHU Technology Ventures, Inc., Kagoshima Development Co., Ltd. and Keio Innovation Initiative, Inc. K Pharma, as a venture originating from Keio University School of Medicine, contributes to society in the medical field through regenerative medicine for spinal cord injury and other disorders using iPS cells and drug discovery business using disease-specific iPS cells.
According to a Kenneth Research study, the global regenerative medicine market was worth 4.5 billion USD in 2022 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 13% to 10.5 billion USD by the end of 2030. In addition, according to a report by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Bio-Industry Division, the domestic market is already worth 95 billion yen and is expected to expand to 2.5 trillion yen by 2050, making it a promising area both globally and domestically.
In recent years, there has been a push to satisfy unmet medical needs for diseases for which there is still no effective treatment. In an article by Office of Pharmaceutical Industry Research in November 2020, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) has been noted to have the lowest treatment satisfaction and drug contribution among the 60 selected diseases, at 14.3% and 15.6%, respectively, and there is a need to discover effective therapeutic agents.
Under this area of medical expertise, K Pharma is focusing on the central nervous system area of regenerative medicine. They are conducting research activities, including the transplantation of iPS cell-derived neural stem/progenitor cells, for diseases for which effective treatments have not yet been established, such as spinal cord injury and cerebral infarction. In addition to regenerative medicine, K Pharma is also engaged in elucidating the pathological mechanisms of rare diseases and screening therapeutic drugs using disease-specific iPS cells. Through this iPS drug discovery business, K Pharma is working to discover and develop effective drugs for patients with ALS and other neurological intractable diseases. K Pharma is promoting the business as a leader in the industry in collaboration with Keio University School of Medicine, where founding scientists and non-executive directors, Professors Hideyuki Okano and Masaya Nakamura, are affiliated.
The significance of this investment is to support research and development (R&D) that goes into proving the possibility of treatment for spinal cord injury, which has been called “incurable,” and also to promote R&D that will satisfy a wide range of unmet medical needs within the neurology field. The research will be conducted together with Keio University School of Medicine which is known as the forerunner in regenerative medicine in the central nervous system area and the first in the world to transplant iPS cell-derived neural stem/progenitor cells into spinal cord injury patients in December 2021. Together, the K Pharma and Keio University team have discovered that ropinirole hydrochloride, a drug for Parkinson’s disease, is effective in the treatment of ALS in their drug discovery business utilizing disease-specific iPS cells. The discovery and development of effective therapeutics for such intractable diseases will provide patients with greater health, and bring them one step closer to achieving a more holistic approach to wellbeing.
As a co-creation fund, ICMG plans to support K Pharma’s R&D activities and subsequent market launch activities by connecting to the biomedical ecosystem in the Haneda area, centered on King Skyfront, Tonomachi International Strategic Zone, and by utilizing our network of large Japanese companies, so that we can contribute to building a regenerative medicine ecosystem to achieve well-being.
【About K Pharma】
K Pharma aims to quickly deliver the results of regenerative medical research on spinal cord injury and other diseases and drug discovery research using disease-specific iPS cell technology (iPS drug discovery), which have been conducted for many years by a research group led by Professor Hideyuki Okano of the Department of Physiology and Professor Masaya Nakamura of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Keio University School of Medicine, to the medical community. To achieve this goal, we are working on the development of new drugs that use iPS cell technology. To this end, we will develop both regenerative medicine business for spinal cord injury and stroke using iPS cells and iPS drug discovery business, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), to solve unmet medical needs (medical needs for diseases for which there is no effective treatment) and contribute to society in the medical field. We will contribute to society in the medical field by solving unmet medical needs.
【About ICMG Group】
ICMG Group has been leading co-creative innovation not only in Japan but also in Southeast Asia and US together with various stakeholders such as leading Japanese big corporations, startups, and government agencies. ICMG Group has also carried out renewable energy investment projects in Southeast Asia with Tokyo Electric Power Company and Chubu Electric Power Co, formed a strategic partnership in Singapore with UNDP to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and launched the sustainable city initiative project in Japan with Aichi Prefectural Government. ICMG Co-Creation Fund aims to create a sustainable society by providing growth capital and strong partner network of leading Japanese corporations to startups that solve social issues.
【About ICMG Co-Creation Fund】
ICMG Co-Creation Fund was launched in May 2021 and is being managed by ICMG Partners as the General Partner. The Limited Partners are Japan Airport Terminal, which operates Haneda Airport Passenger Terminal Building and its group company Haneda Future Research Institute (LP investment from Japan Airport Terminal), and Kiraboshi Bank, which aims to become “a comprehensive service provider with strong financial capabilities”. The fund aims to build an ecosystem that leads a sustainable future by encouraging co-creation between startups that solve social issues beyond industries and Japanese large companies. In addition to providing startups with speedy growth capital, we also aim to provide growth support by offering collaboration opportunities with ICMG Group’s network of Japanese large companies.
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