Panasonic and Shinobi team to develop cost-effective cell therapy tech

The partnership between Panasonic Holdings, Shinobi Therapeutics, and Kyoto’s University Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) aims to develop a cost-effective manufacturing platform for T-cell therapies.

Millie Nelson, Editor

April 29, 2024

2 Min Read

Electronics giant Panasonic will create a closed-system manufacturing device based on Shinobi, a biotechnology firm focused on developing immune evasive induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell therapies iPS-T cell platform, and research from Kyoto University in Japan.

The overall aim of this collaboration is to significantly increase the accessibility of cell therapies to patients on a global scale. While cell therapies have garnered success in treating blood cancers and other diseases, manufacturing costs remain a challenge and render the therapies to be inaccessible to patients globally.

"To make promising iPS-T cell therapies accessible to the broader population, Panasonic is committed to developing a manufacturing platform that will produce safe cells for therapies at the lowest possible cost," said Yuki Kusumi, representative director, and president of Panasonic.

"Reducing the production time and cost of cell therapies must be done in a manner that does not compromise safety or efficacy, and we are thrilled to see the Japanese biotech and engineering communities coming together to make that happen."

Shinobi’s iPS-T cell technology has a decade’s worth of iPSC research established at CiRA by the firm’s co-founder Shin Kaneko. The technology uses iPSCs originally created by Nobel Prize scientist laureate Shinya Yamanaka. According to the companies, the first phase of the partnership is expected to be complete in April 2025, when the organizations anticipate releasing the initial prototype.

"Advancements in iPS cell production and Shinobi's genetic modification of iPSCs for immune evasion have made regenerative T cell therapy increasingly feasible. The automated cultivation device developed in this joint research will significantly accelerate this, contributing to the realization of a world where state-of-the-art regenerative killer T cell therapy can be provided for every patient,” said Kaneko.

Electronics biz meets science

Panasonic’s peers in the electronics space in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region have also delved into the biotechnology sector. Tokyo-headquartered Sony Group Corporation has Sony Biotechnology and Hitatchi (now Minaris Regenerative Medicine) also plays in the life sciences space.

Fujifilm Corporation has various subsidiaries such as CDMOs Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies and Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics. Additionally, Samsung Group has CDMO Samsung Biologics and biosimilar developer Samsung Bioepis.

Japanese photography equipment and optics firm Nikon Corporation has a biotechnology business sector, which offers cell solutions, drug discovery support, and diagnostic solutions. And fellow photography company Canon has Canon Medical Systems. Furthermore, printer firm Epson has over 40 years of experience in providing robotic automation solutions in the biotechnology space.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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