Nikon Corporation and Yumanity Therapeutics Enter Contract for the Commission Development of Drug Discovery Assay System in Neurodegenerative Diseases

March 28, 2018

Nikon Corporation (President: Kazuo Ushida, Minato-ku, Tokyo) and its subsidiary Nikon Instruments Inc. (President: Toshiaki Nagano, Headquarters: Melville, NY, USA) and Yumanity Therapeutics, a company focused on transforming drug discovery for diseases caused by protein misfolding, (CEO: Tony Coles, Headquarters: Massachusetts, USA (hereinafter "Yumanity Therapeutics")) have concluded a contract (hereinafter "this contract") which commissions the development of drug discovery assay systems in the field of neurodegenerative disease. Nikon and Yumanity Therapeutics both seek to improve the quality of life of those suffering from these diseases by promoting the development of effective therapies.

The high content screening (HCS)*1 market that supports drug discovery and cell production has grown significantly in recent years. Nikon is promoting the acceleration of drug discovery and practical application of regenerative medicine by offering the BioStation CT, a cell culture observation system that utilizes live cell imaging technology*2, which Nikon has developed in the field of biological microscopes. The company is also offering a cell quality / culturing process evaluation system for integral management of the whole cell manufacturing process.

Based on consignment from drug discovery companies, Nikon has developed the BioStation CT to evaluate the effects of compounds to foster discovery of new drug candidates. Nikon will evaluate cell function and gene expression of individual cells through a combination of cell culture, observation and image analysis techniques. This is the company's consulting business that will develop tailored discovery systems spanning pre-clinical research through clinical studies.

Drug discovery at Yumanity Therapeutics focuses on identifying biological targets and correcting cellular pathologies associated with misfolded proteins, which have a central role in several neurodegenerative disorders. The Yumanity Therapeutics drug discovery platform employs patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, which can be differentiated into multiple different central nervous system cell types and used to model cellular aspects of neurodegenerative disease pathology. To accelerate discovery efforts in these biologically complex systems, Nikon and Yumanity Therapeutics are partnering to develop high throughput and high content image analysis assays initially focusing on iPSC-derived neuronal systems*3. These assays will be utilized to characterize the effects of Yumanity Therapeutics' candidate compounds in reversing cellular pathologies associated with neurodegenerative disease.

Neurodegenerative diseases represent one of the largest global healthcare challenges and greatest medical needs of our time, and its prevalence is predicted to increase rapidly in the coming decades. Unfortunately, existing treatments address symptoms as opposed to modifying the course of the disease, leaving patients and their loved ones with few options.

  • *1High Content Screening: Automatic image analysis method making full use of optical, chemical, biological and image analysis that enables rapid biological research and drug discovery.
  • *2Live cell imaging technology: A method to visualize and observe the functions and the gene expression of living cells.
  • *3Assay development: In order to investigate whether compounds can be a drug, construct an evaluation system that reproduces cells or organs reactions in artificial environments such as a test tube.

Neurodegenerative diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases are caused by complications in the nerve of the brain. Diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) dramatically impact cognition, memory, motor function, speech and mobility. They are often met with low treatment satisfaction and drug contribution.

Yumanity Therapeutics, Inc.

Yumanity Therapeutics is transforming drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein misfolding. Formed in 2014 by renowned biotech industry leader, Tony Coles, M.D., and protein folding science pioneer, Susan Lindquist, Ph.D., the company is initially focused on discovering disease-modifying therapies for patients with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Leveraging its three integrated platforms, Yumanity's innovative new approach to drug discovery and development concentrates on reversing the cellular phenotypes and disease pathologies caused by protein misfolding. For more information, please visit

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