Biotech startup based in Japan diosevIts ambitious goal is to develop human oocytes, or eggs, from other tissues. It aims to help those struggling with infertility, and it recently raised $3 million led by ANRI with participation from Coral Capital.
Diosave’s mission may look like it originated from science fiction, but it is based on a scientific technique called induced pluripotent cell stem (iPS) cells, which was first developed in 2006,
The startup’s scientific advisor, Dr. Nobuhiko Hamazaki, a research expert at the University of Washington, created DIOSave’s technology, called DIOLs (directly induced oocyte-like cells), that can encapsulate iPS cells into oocytes. The DIOLs are currently under trial and have been published in the scientific journal Nature.
The new funding will enable Diosev to hire more people and accelerate its research and development. It aimed to establish a proof of concept by giving mice birth with oocytes produced by DOOL, and recently established a new laboratory in Tokyo and hired an iPS specialist.
As Dr. Hamzaki explains, induced pluripotent stem cells can be used to develop all cells in the body. For example, other researchers suggest ways to use iPS to grow organs outside the body, induce beta cells in the pancreas in an effort to cure diabetes, and generate neural stem cells to heal spinal injuries. Looking for. iPS cells can be made from tissue such as muscle or blood cells.
DIOLs are the first to source primordial germ cells, sperm, and oocytes. It differentiates between them to find the oogonia, or precursor of oocytes, and then introduces the gene into iPS cells. This means that people who are struggling with infertility can potentially use DIOLs to produce offspring from their own genetic material.
Dr. Hamzaki said that in the case of mice, it usually takes 30 days to obtain oocytes, and with human oocytes, it can take up to six months.
DyoSave’s CEO is Kazuma Kishida, who became interested in biotechnology when he was diagnosed with hepatitis C as a teenager. At the time, the available treatments had heavy side effects and low response rates, so his doctor told him to wait a few years, as a new drug was being developed in the United States. After three years, Kishida recovered his hepatitis C while being treated. “That medicine really changed and contributed to the world,” he said. “I wanted to do something that could change the world, like a new medicine.”
Kishida said DIOL is giving great consideration to the safety and ethics of DIOL by interacting with potential patients and science and medical ethics experts. Right now, the issues it’s monitoring include the technology’s inheritance effect – can it not only produce healthier babies, but avoid health problems in later generations?
“We are really serious about ethics. We need to be very careful because this technology can be applied in the process of childbearing,” said Dr. Hamazaki, “if it is applicable, there is a consensus.” To achieve that we need to have a deeper dialogue with society, and apply the technology to the realm we are in.”
Dioseve isn’t the only biotech startup researching ways to grow human oocytes. Others include Ivy Nettle and Conception, based in San Francisco, which are also developing ways to produce eggs from other cells. Dioseve says its competitive edge is its research advances and practicality.