Metcela Inc., a Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata, Japan-based biotech startup specializing in fibroblast-based cell therapy, closed its 430m yen ($4m) Series B funding round.
Backers included Japan Lifeline Co., Ltd. (JLL), Sony Innovation Fund and Tsukuba Exceed Fund (TX fund).
The company plans to accelerate the clinical development of the fibroblast-based cell therapy product, MTC001, for the treatment of chronic heart failure and initiate a Phase I clinical trial.
Established in 2016 and led by Co-CEOs Takahiro Iwamiya and Kenichi Nogami, Metcela is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on researching and developing potentially curative fibroblast-based therapies for chronic diseases with limited therapeutic options. Through basic research and various pre-clinical studies, the company has discovered that VCAM-1-positive cardiac fibroblasts (VCFs) were capable of stimulating proliferation of cardiomyocytes and improving cardiac function through formation of new lymphatic vessels, a process known as lymphangiogenesis.
Metcela also announced that it has appointed Kenji Yamada, who also serves as a director of JLL, as an outside director.