OUR SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & APPROACH
Otolink Inc. is a biotech startup spun off from Keio University School of Medicine. We approach healthcare associated with hearing and sense of balance, capitalizing on Keio University’s proprietary technology using human iPS cells of the inner ear, IoT-based collection and analysis of biological information on sense of hearing and equilibrium or balance.
Primate Derived Cells in Drug Discovery Research
Many medical research projects in basic research depend on rodent models. Such studies may fail to find certain phenomena specific to primates, including humans, in the early stage of drug discovery. We have rectified this problem by incorporating research using primate derived cells, including human cells, in the fundamental part of the R&D without exception.
Development of Treatment for Hearing Loss and Dizziness using Human iPS-based Drug Discovery
Thanks to the technology of creating human iPS cells reported by Yamanaka et al in 2007, we are now able to generate human cells of any body part, and apply them to various purposes. Keio University School of Medicine started human iPS cell research in 2013 as the only private university in Japan having an iPS research center, which has established a method to efficiently induce inner-ear stem cells of high purity in large volume from iPS cells (Japanese Patent No. 6218152). Using this method, we have been conducting investigator-initiated clinical trials to identify drugs for treating rare intractable cochlear disorders–trial of low dose sirolimus for Pendred syndrome/ DFNB4.
Virtual Clinical Trial and IoT-based Healthcare
Our hearing gradually deteriorates as we age, fluctuating slightly depending on our health conditions. It also vary greatly among individuals. To respond to these characteristics, we have constructed a system to record an accurate measurement of hearing, in which patients are provided with devices to measure hearing ability on a daily basis. This has been applied first to virtual clinical trials. Otolink will utilize this Keio-derived technology to provide solutions for data collection, management and analysis in clinical research and trials associated with hearing and sense of equilibrium, broaden the applications of these to healthcare disciplines, and explore into preventive medicine. Clinical analysis using hearing big data of individual patients gathered from daily measurement at their home is one of our strengths which we consider to be world class.