April 21, 2022
MAQsys Inc. (Head Office: Kawasaki City, Kanagawa; CEO: Kenji Nakao; hereinafter “MAQsys”) and Toray Engineering Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; CEO & COO: Takashi Iwade; hereinafter “Toray Engineering”) have signed a joint project agreement with the goal of commercializing drug discovery tools targeted at ion channels.
Ion channels are proteins that allow the exchange of ions across cell membranes. Under their joint agreement, Toray Engineering and MAQsys will seek to establish mass production technologies for artificial cell membrane chips that enable the reproduction of ion channels outside cells; they will also aim to develop and commercialize analysis systems and services.
The two companies intend to help improve the efficiency of drug discovery research targeted at organelles, which are widely held to be one of the frontiers in the development of new drugs.
MAQsys and Toray Engineering share a business goal of contributing through independent technologies to the realization of new medical and drug discovery breakthroughs. Under the joint project agreement, the two companies intend to leverage their respective the strengths to promote the widespread use of the latest drug discovery research methods.
By combining MAQsys’s artificial cell membrane technologies with the advanced Monozukuri and AI technologies of the Toray Engineering Group, the two companies intend to develop mass production technologies for artificial cell membrane chips that can be used in the discovery of ion channel drugs, as well as to develop analysis systems and services. They also plan to commercialize these new developments as innovative research tools in the field of drug discovery.
MAQsys is a start-up launched by the Kanagawa Institute of Industrial Science and Technology (KISTEC), with the goal of finding practical applications for the research results of KISTEC’s Artificial Cell Membrane System Group.
KISTEC and the University of Tokyo own ground-breaking patents for the droplet contact method of creating cell membranes (lipid bilayers) on top of microchips; by using these methods and the associated industrial applied technologies, MAQsys supports the discovery of drugs that act on ion channels.
In particular, the two companies seek to promote the discovery of new medicines by providing screening platforms that enable approaches that target organellar channels, which operate in organelles such as energy-generating mitochondria, or lysosomes or other proteins involved in intercellular circulation.
MAQsys was established in August 2021 with the support of the project promoter WERU INVESTMENT CO., LTD. Its goal is to utilize the results of research and development carried out by KISTEC, as part of the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s (JST) Program for Creating Start-ups from Advanced Research and Technology.
Toray Engineering is a company that provides solutions in wide-ranging fields, including plant engineering, factory automation, FPD and semiconductor production equipment, film production and processing equipment.
Since its establishment, Toray Engineering has been guided by its Corporate Philosophy of “contributing to society through the creation of new value.” The company has long positioned CSR as a priority management issue, and since fiscal 2020 it has also incorporated CSV into its management approach; as such, it seeks both “to create social value” and “to create economic value” by contributing to the resolution of societal issues through its business activities.
In its Life Innovation business, which is focused on contributing to the realization of a sustainable society of the future, Toray Engineering seeks to develop innovations in the fields of medicine, drug discovery, and healthcare, and so contribute to the promotion of health and welfare.
Corporate Outline of MAQsys Inc.
|1．Corporate Name:||:||MAQsys Inc.|
|2. Business||:||Research and development of scientific products, including agrochemicals, cosmetics, functional foods, and reagents; contracting and consulting services for such scientific products; development, production, sales, and lease and rentals of measuring equipment and devices|
|3. Head Office||:||3-2-1, Sakado, Takatsu-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture|
|4. Established:||:||August 2021|
|5. President & CEO:||:||Kenji Nakao|
Corporate Outline of Toray Engineering Co., Ltd.
|1. Corporate Name||:||Toray Engineering Co., Ltd.|
|2. Business||:||Plant engineering and factory automation; production and sales of semiconductor production equipment, film production & processing equipment, and FPD production equipment|
|3. Head Office||:||1-3-22, Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo|
|4. Established||:||August 1960|
|5. CEO & COO||:||Takashi Iwade|