PALO ALTO, Calif., April XX, 2022 – I Peace, Inc. (CEO: Koji Tanabe), a Palo Alto-based biotech start-up in the field of GMP cell manufacturing CDMO, announced that the company, in collaboration with Genequest Inc., a Tokyo-based direct-to-consumer genetic testing service provider, established a data-driven method to identify potential cell donors with specific haplotypes. With this high-throughput method, the company has already succeeded in identifying 1,547 HLA-homozygous potential donors and has already generated iPSCs. By combining Genequest’s inventory of genomic information of tens of thousands of customers, and I Peace’s mass production capability of GMP grade iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) and iPSC-induced cells, it is now possible to identify potential donors with specific HLA (human leukocyte antigen) haplotype and manufacture multiple lines of iPSCs. Unlike conventional methods of identifying specific potential donors that yield only a handful of matches at best, this process can help identify a large number of potential donors with high efficiency.
We sequenced 98 HLA loci by high-resolution, next-generation sequencing-based HLA haplotyping from seven people, and found that the algorithm accuracy was above 93%. While the process can be applied to the identification of various genotypes and therefore has widespread usability including sourcing donors with genetic predispositions for disease modeling, HLA homozygosity was used to verify the reliability of the process because sourcing HLA homozygous donors is an ongoing challenge to meet demands of the rising allogeneic cell therapy industry. This process that combines the pool of genetic information and the mass manufacturing capability of iPSCs can be applied to identifying potential donors and manufacturing iPSCs with various types of genetic characteristics and support organ transplant and drug discoveries.
About Genequest Inc.
In 2014, Genequest launched the first large-scale genetic testing service for consumers in Japan. We provide a service that allows you to check genetic variations associated with disease susceptibilities and traits by examining personal genomes covering about 300 items such as the risk of diseases such as lifestyle-related diseases and the characteristics of your trait. With the vision of promoting genetic research, spreading correct usage, and enriching people’s lives, we are actively conducting research activities that utilize accumulated genomic data.