September 7, 2021, Palo Alto, California – I Peace, Inc. (CEO: Koji Tanabe), a Palo Alto-based biotech startup focusing on Nobel Prize-winning technology of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) expands its personalized iPSC banking service. I Peace launched its clinical-grade personalized iPSC banking service in 2020 in Japan and has already banked several individuals’ iPSCs. The company will collaborate with I’rom Group Co., Ltd. (Japan) to make the service available for clients at every corner of the country. Using this as proof of concept, I Peace plans to launch the iPSC banking service in the U.S. as the next phase of its business expansion.
I Peace is one of the first companies to develop technology for mass manufacturing iPSCs in a closed system, thus drastically increasing iPSCs manufacturing capability while reducing cost. In March 2020, I Peace developed a novel system to mass manufacture clinical-grade iPSCs for cell therapy in a palm-sized closed cassette. The technology is modular and scalable with a small footprint, paving the way for simultaneous mass production of clinical-grade iPSCs from a multitude of donors in a single facility. By 2025, the company plans to produce up to a few thousand lines of clinical-grade iPSCs in a year.
I’rom Group has a network of 2245 hospitals and clinics throughout Japan. The company also provides site management for clinical trials. I’rom Group’s high-quality CRC’s (clinical research coordinators) ensure ethical and technical standards are met when recruiting clients and collecting blood for iPSC manufacturing.
The collaboration between I Peace and I’rom Group ensures greater accessibility to customers, some of whom may have difficulty traveling to a blood collection site far from their home. The expansion of iPSC banking service is expected not only to provide I Peace with a steady business flow, but also enhance the cell therapy industry as a whole by helping identify diverse cell characteristics that can be utilized for therapy development and drug screening. Although the collaboration with I’rom Group as channel partner is limited to APAC including Japan, I Peace plans to expand the iPSC banking service globally, applying this business model to other markets including the U.S.
About I’rom Group
The I’rom Group’s four business units (Advanced Medicinal Treatment Services, Site Management Organization (SMO) Services, Contract Research Organization (CRO) Services, and Medical Support Services) contribute at various stages to ensure that pharmaceuticals and medical technologies get to the patients that need them.
In its core business unit SMO, I’rom Group collaborates with medical institutions throughout Japan and its highly qualified CRCs (Clinical Research Coordinator) work with doctors, medical staff, and patients to support pharmaceutical companies conducting various clinical trials. The Advanced Medicinal Treatment business unit engages in the research and development of advanced medicine and regenerative medicine such as development of new vaccines and gene therapy, and the sales of iPSC manufacturing tools including Sendai virus vector and CytoTune-iPS kit.
Since its formation, the Group has consistently been involved in each of these businesses with the objective of contributing to medical development, to elevate the quality of patients’ lives. In future we will make further efforts to provide support for clinical trials and for technical developments in advanced medicine.
I’rom Group continues to advance, with the strong belief that making new therapeutic technologies available to patients will give them hope for the future.
About I Peace, Inc.
I Peace, Inc. was founded in 2015 at Palo Alto, California. I Peace’s mission is to alleviate the suffering of diseased patients and help healthy people maintain a high quality of life. I Peace’s proprietary manufacturing platform enables the fully-automated mass production of discrete iPSCs from multiple donors in a single room. Increasing the number of available clinical-grade iPSC lines allows our customers to take differentiation propensity into account to select the most appropriate iPSC line for their clinical research at a significantly reduced cost. Our goal is to provide an option for every individual a source of their own personalized stem cells for life through the creation of iPSCs.
About Founder and CEO Dr. Koji Tanabe
Dr. Koji Tanabe obtained his Ph.D. from Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, working in the laboratory of Professor Shinya Yamanaka, 2012 Nobel Prize Winner in Physiology/Medicine. There, he spent eight years researching iPSCs starting in 2006 — the early days of iPSC development — and became the second author of the scientific paper reporting the world’s first successful generation of human iPSCs. After getting his Ph.D., Dr. Tanabe moved to the United States and joined the Dr. Marius Wernig Laboratory, part of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University Medical School, where the world’s first successful direct reprogramming from skin cells to neural cells was achieved. Dr. Tanabe’s postdoctoral work at Dr. Wernig’s lab was on direct reprogramming of blood cells to neural cells and the iPSC reprogramming mechanism, where he also contributed to numerous scientific papers on iPSCs and on direct reprogramming to neural cells. After a period as a guest researcher at Stanford, Dr. Tanabe assumed his present position as CEO of I Peace. He has been awarded an Overseas Research Fellowship by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.