Business Category : Environmental, medical and welfare
Created on 2014-4-23
Updated on 2015-3-19
On-Chip Biotechnologies Co., Ltd.(Koganei City)
On-Chip Biotechnologies Co., Ltd. is a bio-science related venture company situated in the venture facility located inside the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. We visited and interviewed Mr. Masayuki Kobayashi (photo), the president of the company, which is known for its cell sorting techniques that do not damage the target cells.
We began our business in an office building in Kanda-Surugadai in April 2005. Since our establishment, we have been continuing our development to commercialize cell sorters using microfluidic chips, and in autumn 2009, we commercialized “Fishman-R” which is a flow cytometer (cell analysis device) that analyzes cells using microfluidic chips. In June 2012, we succeeded in commercializing “On-chip Sort” which is a cell sorter (cell analysis sorting device) that can analyze cells through microfluidic chips and separate target cells. Flow cytometer is an analysis device that observes the cells individually by running the cells inside the liquid at high velocities and irradiating with laser light. Moreover, cell sorter is a device that can separate each cell based on the analysis results. Our device is the world’s first equipment to introduce microfluidic chips on flow cytometers and cell sorters. Currently, these cell sorters, “On-chip Sort,” are being used at the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University and other locations, and they are used for leading-edge cell research.
The existing “flow cytometers and cell sorters” had experiment-related problems such as “contamination of samples” or “damaging of target cells,” and specification-related challenges such as “bulky device,” “complicated operation,” or “high cost.” We solved all of these challenges with the flow cytometry technique using a microfluidic chip method. For example, since all the channels are inside disposable chips, there is no fear of contamination of the samples. In addition, because the cells only run through the channels of the chips, there are no shocks or charge on the fluid surface, and we are even able to separate nerve cells, which are easily damageable. Moreover, we succeeded in downsizing the equipment by not having sheath tanks or waste tanks. Its operation is simple and maintenance-free. We were also able to make the price half of that of existing ones. Our “microfluidic chip” method, which takes the advantage of the leading-edge micro fluid technology and micro molding technology, was recognized as a world’s first, and we were awarded the award for excellence for the Tokyo Venture Technology Grand Prize in 2013.
The reason we decided to locate ourselves in Tamakoganei Venture Port (Entrepreneur cultivating facility in cooperation with Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology) was that we needed wet laboratories in order to conduct our research and development. As we were searching for a facility that was suitable for biotechnology-related development, we decided on this location where it was the most accessible and fully equipped. Since such facilities with perfect conditions are difficult to find in Tokyo, we are thankful for their existence. As an added benefit, since bio-related companies like ours occupy about 30 percent of the building, we are in an environment where we can share knowledge, be stimulated, and improve by learning from each other. Since we are located inside a university, we can also easily have industry-academia collaboration.
As our plan, we aim to expand the “flow cytometer with microfluidic chip method” technology to medical devices in the near future. For example, we are working on a research that would detect, separate, and analyze cancer cells from the blood of a cancer patient, and use the technology for prognosis, metastasis prediction, selection of anticancer drug, etc. In regenerative medicine, we plan to research and commercialize a device that will separate and eliminate extra cells that are attached to the regenerated cells. In addition, we will work actively on overseas expansion. When we look at the world market for flow cytometer technology today, two American companies, who were the first to develop the technology, hold about 90 percent of the market share. Since our microfluidic chip method is a technology that is able to compete with and surpass them, we hope to acquire the world market. In January 2014, we introduced and demonstrated our equipment to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the U.S.A., and it was well received. As a venture company from Tokyo, we aim to expand on the new possibilities of science.
Address: Nokodai/Tamakoganei Venture Port #204, 2-24-16 Naka-Cho, Koganei City, Tokyo