Tokyo, August 15, 2013 — Fujitsu Limited today announced that Fujitsu Laboratories Limited, its wholly owned subsidiary, has decided to spin off its long-cultivated aptamer technology so that external resources can be employed to foster its commercialization. To this end, UK-based Anglo Scientific Ltd., a specialist in establishing venture businesses in collaboration with researchers from academia or public sector institutions as well as private sector scientists, has set up Apta Biosciences Ltd. (ABS). This new company will pursue the commercialization of the aptamer technology in diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Fujitsu Limited will invest in ABS through the corporate venture capital fund it established in 2010.
Seeking to develop a novel technology that brings together the disciplines of nanotechnology and biotechnology, Fujitsu Laboratories has been conducting R&D on aptamers since 2003. In 2010, it received support from Singapore‘s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to conduct joint research with the Experimental Therapeutics Centre, the National University of Singapore, the Cancer Science Institute and the National University Hospital. It then made progress in verifying the effectiveness of its aptamer technology by developing a biomarker for prostate cancer and an aptamer for the West Nile virus. Rather than continue in-house R&D on aptamer technology, however, Fujitsu Laboratories determined that R&D would progress more effectively and at a faster pace if external resources were leveraged. This is the reason it decided to spin off this technology.
Using Fujitsu-developed aptamer technology, ABS will develop and offer aptamers with strong affinities and special characteristics to companies and research institutes seeking to apply aptamer technology to the development of diagnostic agents and therapeutic medicines. The development and manufacturing of aptamers will be conducted by ABS’s wholly owned subsidiary in Singapore, Adaptamer Solutions Pte. Ltd.
About Aptamer Technology
Aptamers are artificial chemical substances made to resemble the characteristics of proteins such as antibodies. Proposed by Fujitsu Limited and Fujitsu Laboratories, modified DNA aptamer(1) technology is a platform technology developed under a grant from New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan(2), then verified in collaboration with Nagoya University Innovative Research Center for Preventive Medical Engineering. It is anticipated that modified DNA aptamers, by enabling the development of diagnostic tests for such areas as cancer and infectious diseases, for which tests have been difficult to develop, will become a new, breakthrough diagnostic technology as well as offer many therapeutic applications.
Overview of the New Company
(1) Company name: Apta Biosciences Limited
(2) Location: Singapore and London, England
CEO Fredrik Edenius (Anglo Scientific Ltd.)
COO William Addison (Anglo Scientific Ltd.)
CTO Shozo Fujita (formerly of Fujitsu Laboratories)
(4) Date established: April 15, 2013
(5) Business: Development support and manufacturing of components for diagnostics and therapeutics using proprietary aptamer technology
Endorsements from Collaboration Partners
Mr. LIM Chuan Poh, Chairman, A*STAR
I am delighted that the joint research and development between Fujitsu and A*STAR over the last three years will now enter a new phase as a spin off venture here in Singapore. This is a successful outcome from a mutually beneficial collaboration that combines Fujitsu‘s aptamer technology with the disease and cancer markers and clinical validation from A*STAR, NUS, CSI and NUH. The aptamer platform has great potential as a new frontier for diagnostics and therapeutics and this biotech spinoff further adds to the vibrancy of Singapore as a biomedical research hub.
Seiichi Matsuo, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Nagoya University Innovative Research Center for Preventive Medical Engineering
At Nagoya University Innovative Research Center for Preventive Medical Engineering (PME), we succeeded in using this aptamer technology to detect toxic proteins. There are high expectations for the significant contributions this technology can make to such areas as food and medicine, which directly impact human safety and security. By commercializing through a spinoff venture this technology that PME helped to develop through joint research, it is my wish that it can be widely employed to benefit society. I am very encouraged by our collaboration with Fujitsu, and see that it has become a great success.
Glossary and Notes
- 1 Modified DNA aptamers:
- Chemically synthesized substances in which amino acid side chains are deployed on one end of a strand of natural DNA to increase their affinity for particular biological molecules, giving them properties that are similar or superior to antibodies.
- 2 Grant from New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) of Japan:
- Part of the Project for Developing Biotechnology IT Integration Equipment, which ran from fiscal 2002 to fiscal 2005
Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Approximately 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.4 trillion yen (US$47 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013. For more information, please see http://www.fujitsu.com.
Public and Investor Relations Division
Original Source: Fujitsu Laboratories to Spin Off Aptamer Technology