- Fujifilm Corp. has taken a 470 million yen ($4.15 million) equity stake in EdiGene Corp, making it an owner of nearly 12% of the biotech's total shares.
- As its name suggests, EdiGene's focus is on gene therapy. The startup was born out of the University of Tokyo, and now holds a proprietary technology that works to miniaturize Cas9, an enzyme that is an essential component of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system.
- Aside from the investment, Fujifilm also announced on Dec. 19 that it and EdiGene have entered into a joint research venture that will pair the companies technology platforms together to craft gene therapies that address unmet medical needs.
At Fujifilm's disposal is its liposomal formulation technology. That tech will play an integral role in addressing the joint venture's first target: ribonucleic acid (RNA). Fujifilm intends to "optimize a liposome for the RNA designed and developed by EdiGene," according to a Dec. 19 statement. "It will then encapsulate, inside a liposome, RNA that is prone to be broken down in the blood, so as to enhance its stability in the blood."
Fujifilm's investment in EdiGene is just the latest example of the photography company delving deeper into pharmaceuticals.
In April, the company invested $130 million in its Diosynth Biotechnologies business to expand manufacturing capabilities. The move was followed shortly after by the company opening a new mammalian cell production facility in the U.K. Another manufacturing site in Texas is slated to open in early 2018.
So far, Fujifilm's drug developed has centered on oncology. The company's USA division has four medicines in early- to mid-stage trials, including ones for acute myeloid leukemia, solid tumors and blood cancers.