Regenerative medicine is set to revolutionize the medical industry over the coming years, offering treatments for once incurable conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, renal failure, osteoporosis, spinal cord injuries, among others. We speak with Masato Tsumamoto, president of CellSource, who offers his insight into the potential of regenerative medicine and how his company has positioned itself at the forefront of this exciting new field of healthcare.
In the 21st century we have seen the rise of innovative medicine. Could you please give us an overview of the regenerative medicine market and what we can expect from it over the next 20 years?
Regenerative medicine’s goal is to find a way to cure previously untreatable injuries and diseases. When injured or affected by a disease, our bodies have the reflex to heal and defend. The promising field of regenerative medicine is working to restore the structure and function of damaged tissues and organs by stimulating the body's own repair mechanisms. Through regenerative, we hope to provide groundbreaking solutions for tissues and organs that become severely damaged.
While much progress has been made in treating and curing diseases, many of these are infectious diseases that are caused by foreign pathogens attacking our bodies. In contrast, when it comes to age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis, we need to find a way to deal with our own cells, tissues, and organs that deteriorate with aging. In the future, regenerative medicine will play a vital role in the medical industry as it will be a novel approach to maximize the body’s own regenerative capabilities and to prevent our organs from becoming permanently damaged.
In June 2014, the Japanese government implemented the “Sakigake System,” which is a regulatory framework to promote the development of innovative medicine. Could you share with us your assessment of Japan’s regulatory framework for regenerative medicine?
In terms of R&D, clinical research/trials and insurance coverage, Japan has created one of the most competitive ecosystems and targeted innovative pharmaceuticals/medical devices which can treat and cure serious illnesses (such as rare diseases and cancer). Therefore, the Sakigake System has opened up a completely new field in medical services, enabling companies to industrialize regenerative medicine and to offer innovative treatments legally.
In addition to the Sakigake System, Japan has implemented the Act on the Safety of Regenerative Medicine (RM Act) as an additional path to promote and provide regenerative medicine services. These new sets of regulations have enabled companies such as CellSource to accelerate the industrialization of regenerative medicine in Japan.
For example, before the RM Act was implemented, medical centers had to do all the handling and processing of cells on their own. Today, they can outsource this procedure with us, making it more cost-efficient and providing them with more time with their patients. CellSource has collaborated with various medical institutions and research institutions to establish a state-of-the-art platform in regenerative medicine that is available for all to utilize.
Regenerative medicine is moving rapidly from research to treatment, and its future is a cluster of possibilities. A new era of treatment has begun for humankind. Dreams turn into reality.
CellSource was founded in 2015 and you have already achieved enormous growth. Can you share with us the key of your success?
In 2015, while doing research on the needs of the market, I noticed right away that Japan outweighs all other nations in terms of an aging population. But this is not just happening in Japan; it is a global trend. As society advances and economies mature, we are seeing that the population of developed countries has been decreasing. In fact, 20% of the current global population is over 60 years old. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that USD 6.5 trillion is spent annually worldwide on healthcare.
Furthermore, the world is undergoing major changes at an unprecedented rate due to the development of various technologies and services. In this turbulence, new ways of life and new ways of working should and have been born. Therefore, I created CellSource with the objective of industrializing regenerative medicine. I wanted to create a medical service platform that people can rely on and utilize to find solutions for a longer and healthier life while taking advantage of new technological advances.
We are a new company which challenges to create universal value for the next generation while innovating without fear in today's rapidly changing society. We work on the industrialization of regenerative medicine and contribute to the development of society: "In every life, regenerative medicine."
Your company is engaged in the regenerative medicine industry with different business such as fat-derived stem cells, blood-based processing service or regenerative medicine support service. Can you talk to us about these business models?
For each of these services, the business model is similar. We get patients’ samples from medical institutions, and we process them in a highly controlled environment. Afterwards, we return the processed samples to the institutions in order for doctors to utilize them.
Furthermore, before regenerative medicine can be provided as a service at medical institutions, each institution must be approved by the Government of Japan. Our business motto is to provide comprehensive support for those who work with us, so we even take care of all the required documents for them. Our platform is such that health professionals at our contracted institutions can focus solely on patient care.
Beside the regenerative medicine, you also offer services based on cosmetic products for skin care. Could you please give us an overview of your products?
In the consumer business, we are transforming some of our expertise into skincare products. Our aging care cosmetics series is called Signalift, which has been developed based on our regenerative medicine research. Signalift is a serum that contains the complex ingredients, one of which is our own “Signa-Peptide”. We have had really good results with these products, and 90% of them are sold online.
You have been expanding your business at a very fast pace during the past 5 years. Could you talk to us about your mid-term strategy?
Our mid-term strategy is to continue growing; Japan contains around 18,000 orthopedic clinics, and we only work with about 350 at this moment. This gives us a wide opportunity for us to continue growing exponentially in Japan. In doing so, we want to commit ourselves to two goals: transparency and trust from people. It is for this exact reason that CellSource went public in 2019.
According to experts, the regenerative medicine market is expected to reach the value of 100 billion dollars by 2030. Could you please give us a brief explanation on this growth and how your company is going to adapt to this development?
We expect the value of regenerative medicine to be even higher by 2030, and it is for this exact reason that we expect CellSource to grow exponentially too. One of our goals for the next 10 years is to find overseas partners in order to export our services to the global market. By 2030, regenerative medicine will gain global popularity and CellSource will be at the center of this demand.
What would you like the brand CellSource to stand for?
We imagine a world that is connected by our ever-evolving medical service platform that harnesses and maximizes the regenerative potential of everyone’s cells. After all, CellSource is the source of cells; we want to create a world connected by cells in one way or another.