Announcement of Participation in “Smart Cell Processing Project” for Quality Control of Cells for Regenerative Medicine

March 23, 2017

Nikon Corporation (Kazuo Ushida, President) announced today that Nikon participates in “Smart Cell Processing Project” (referred to below as “Project”) which Tokyo Electron Limited (Toshiki Kawai, President, Tokyo) has been pushing forward with industry-academic-government institutions in Japan and UK. Nikon will provide a technology for quality evaluation of cells with an aim to establish automatic culture and inspection processes of stem cells, which will realize a clinical level quality of cells for regenerative medicine.

“Smart Cell Processing” consists of hardware solutions such as a cell culture/observation system, software algorithms and cell quality analysis techniques. Nikon will start working in collaboration with Tokyo Electron Limited, together with the Project's technical partners, Shimadzu Corporation, Sinfonia Technology Co., Ltd. and Yokogawa Solution Service Corporation. “Smart Cell Processing” is a joint development effort by Japan-UK industry-academic-government institutions, and its goal is to establish a regime complete with a shared database for judgement of cell qualities and a framework for control system to ensure cell qualities.

Cells for regenerative medicine are currently produced manually by skilled workers, and therefore there is an expectation for construction of a cell production system that will enable a safe, reliable and inexpensive supply of products for industrialization in the future.
Since the launch of BioStation CT, a cell culture observation system, in 2007, Nikon has been working on establishing technologies for long-term stable observation of cells, evaluation of cell quality based on their morphologies, and in-situ evaluation of the quality of stem cells that are in the process of being cultured. By offering these technologies to evaluate the quality of cells to the Project and evaluating the conditions of cells that are being cultured in a non-invasive manner, quality control of cells can be realized with high accuracy.

The goal of the Project is to develop smart cell processing into fully automated cell production facilities (smart cell factories) in the future through integration of a variety of know-hows from the semiconductor industry taking advantage of open innovation and Nikon's optical technology as well as image analysis technology and eventually realize safe and economical production of iPS/ES cells and differentiated cells that are standardized for the clinical level. The Project's effort will be presented at ISSCR 2017 (International Society for Stem Cell Research) in Boston in June 2017.

The information is current as of the date of publication. It is subject to change without notice.