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Sysmex makes Megakaryon Corporation into a subsidiary

Sysmex Corporation announces that on December 20, 2023, it acquired additional shares in Megakaryon Corporation, making the company a consolidated subsidiary. Megakaryon has fundamental technology for producing platelets from human iPS cells. By strengthening the synergy between Megakaryon and the Sysmex Group, we aim to accelerate the commercialization of high-quality and highly safe platelet preparations derived from human iPS cells. In addition, we will explore the application of Megakaryon’s technology as a raw material for the standard substances used in the quality control of our testing instruments, among other potential applications.

In its long-term corporate strategy announced in May 2023, Sysmex has outlined the development of new businesses in domains that straddle the boundaries of diagnostics and treatment, such as regenerative and cellular medicine, as part of its commitment to providing innovative healthcare.

Blood transfusions, including those using platelet and other blood preparations, are a fundamental treatment method in medical care. However, all the blood needed for creating these preparations is currently sourced entirely from blood donations. The demand for platelet transfusions is high, and about 80% of patients who receive them, such as those with hematopoietic tumors like acute leukemia, or thrombocytopenia caused by aplastic anemia, undergo repeated transfusions as part of their treatment.

However, when patients receive repeated transfusions, some may produce antibodies against antigens (HLA) that are different from their own bodies, and as a result, they may develop “platelet transfusion refractoriness,” a condition where the effectiveness of the transfusion is lost. Furthermore, with platelet preparations derived from donated blood, there may be serious complications such as infections due to bacterial contamination at the time of blood donation, or allergic reactions caused by the plasma in the platelet preparation.

Megakaryon has world’s first fundamental technology for producing high quality platelet preparations from iPS cells, which do not express HLA or contain plasma. Thus, the commercialization of platelet preparations derived from human iPS cells could potentially enable safer transfusion therapy, free from these concerns or adverse reactions.

In December 2017, Sysmex invested in Megakaryon, aiming to contribute to the commercialization of human iPS cell-derived platelet preparations by leveraging platelet analysis technologies it has cultivated in the field of hematology. As part of this initiative, Sysmex has developed a testing method for the quality control of platelets derived from human iPS cells.

To strengthen synergies between Megakaryon and the Sysmex Group and accelerate efforts in regenerative and cellular medicine through the early commercialization of human iPS cell-derived platelet preparations, Sysmex conducted an additional acquisition of Megakaryon’s shares as of December 20, 2023, making it a consolidated subsidiary. Sysmex will closely collaborate with Megakaryon to apply the technology we have cultivated in the testing and diagnostic field, promoting the development of an automated manufacturing system for platelet preparations derived from human iPS cells, which includes quality control testing. Furthermore, Sysmex will also explore the potential application of Megakaryon’s technology as a new manufacturing method for the standard substances indispensable for the quality control of its testing instruments.

Going forward, aiming to contribute to safe platelet transfusion therapy, Sysmex and Megakaryon, together with the entire Sysmex Group, will work closely in accelerating efforts toward the early commercialization of high-quality, highly safe human iPS cell-derived platelet preparations.

Overview of Megakaryon Corporation

Company name Megakaryon Corporation  
Location Kyoto Research Park, 134 Minamimachi, Chudoji, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan  
Established September  2011  
Capital 100 million yen  
Investment rate 80.9%  
Representative Kenichi Akamatsu (CEO, President)
No. of employees 10
Line of business Commercialization of iPS cell-derived platelet preparations

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