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November 27, 2002
Olympus Set to Enter Tissue Engineering Field
Targeting Sales of Tissue-Engineered Bone and
Automated Multi-Specimen Cell Culture Equipment
Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. ( President: Tsuyoshi Kikukawa ) plans to enter the new business field of bone tissue engineering. Olympus will supply medical institutions with tissue-engineered bone in the form of differentiated bone cells those are combined with porous β-TCP*1 ceramics after the culture of marrow mesenchymal stem cells of patients. Such supplies could aid in the treatment of various bone diseases. The number of cases in this area of medicine is projected to increase in the future as the population ages. A research into related cell culture technologies is planned to be undertaken at the Advanced Medical Center, which is a core facility of The Kobe Medical Industry Development Project. *2Olympus projects to begin clinical trials of tissue-engineered bone in fall 2003 and to commence sales activities around the end of 2006 after the required regulatory approvals have been gained from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Olympus is also undertaking the joint development of automated devices, which are designed to process multiple cell culture specimens with OneCell Inc. ( Head Office: Hiroshima, Japan / Representative Director: Hisashi Fukushima ), a biotech venture company. These devices will be used internally for production purposes and also be launched on the market by 2006. Olympus aims to generate annual sales of 10 billion yen from tissue-engineered bone and automated multi-specimen cell culture equipment in ten years ( by the fiscal year ending March 2013 ).
* β-TCP stands for beta-tricalcium phosphate. Olympus already refines high-purity porous β-TCP ceramics, which is commercialized as OSferion, an artificial bone replacement material. OSferion provides superior bio-compatibility and bone conduction properties.
* Advanced Medical Center; a core facility of The Kobe Medical Industry Development Project. In this center, there is a facility called Cell Processing Center, which can culture human cell and tissue safely in accordance with GMP ( Good Manufacturing Practice ) standards.

Business Concept
Business Concept
Tissue-engineered bone
At the moment, the repair of any major deficit of bone that arises during operations or other medical situations typically requires the use of either bone from the patient in an autotransplantation procedure or artificial bones. This often generates problems, such as the invasiveness of such procedures for the patient, a lack of sufficient bone tissue, or delayed osteoanagenesis ( bone regeneration ). Tissue-engineered bone is expected to help overcome these kinds of issues.
Business background
The Olympus Medical Systems Group contains all the company's medical-related operations. The Group works to provide total solutions for all stages of medical care, from research and clinical testing to diagnosis and treatment. The range of products includes endoscopes ( for gastroenterology, surgical use, endo-therapy and ultrasound ), microscopes, clinical analyzers, and genome analysis system. Olympus first began making biomaterials to expand into areas related to orthopedics. In April 1999, Olympus launched OSferion as an artificial bone replacement material. Subsequent research confirmed that β-TCP could prove useful as a scaffold *3 for tissue-engineered bone. Based on these research findings, Olympus has decided to enter the field of tissue engineering. The business of tissue-engineered bone and automated multi-specimen cell culture equipment promises to generate various kinds of synergy with Olympus' other medical operations in microscopes ( cell/tissue observation technology ), clinical analyzers ( technology used in infectious disease testing ), and surgical endoscopes ( minimally-invasive surgical equipment ). Olympus hopes that its efforts will contribute to the more widespread use of tissue engineering in medical treatment.
*3:  A scaffold is a material to support the culture of cells.
*Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. was changed to OLYMPUS CORPORATION as of October 1, 2003.
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