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Toray to Draw on Development Bank of Japan Assistance Scheme to Develop Medical Device that Treats Severe Respiratory Failure

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Apr. 28, 2023

Toray Industries, Inc.

Tokyo, Japan, April 28, 2023 – Toray Industries, Inc. announced today that it will obtain funding through the Special Investment Operations scheme (see note 1) of the Development Bank of Japan Inc. The company will leverage this assistance to develop a medical device to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). 

ARDS is a life-threatening lung condition whose underlying causes can include pneumonia or sepsis. According to the ARDS Practice Guidelines 2021 issued by the Japanese Society of Intensive Care Medicine and others, mortality ranges from 25 to 40%. In the case of COVID-19, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases reports that most of the severe cases and deaths are caused by pneumonia-induced ARDS. There is thus a pressing need to develop direct treatments for ARDS.

Toray led the world in responding to that challenge by developing the TORAYMYXIN, which is a blood purification column that selectively adsorbs and removes endotoxin, a bacterial toxin. This column was approved by Japanese Competent Authority and covered under the national insurance system for the treatment of patients with septic shock. The prime purchasers are emergency and critical care centers and intensive care units. 

For ARDS therapy, it is presumed that simultaneous removal of small proteins such as cytokines leading to the serious inflammatory reactions, and white blood cells or activated leukocytes. Chemical reactions under the severe conditions are necessary to obtain the specific fibers which can adsorb and remove these casual substances with ARDS. Fibers have been unable to retain their shapes with the conventional technology. Toray overcame that challenge by employing NANODESIGN (see note 2). This innovative conjugate spinning technology provides nano-level control of the arrangements of highly reactive polymers susceptible to chemical modification. 

In 2018, The company confirmed that these developed fibers had a characteristic which only absorbs cytokines and activated leukocytes selectively without removing the essential cells and proteins for health maintenance. It is developing a blood purification column for the treatment of ARDS by filling a column with these fibers as an adsorbent.

The Development Bank of Japan believes that these endeavors will make Toray more competitive by providing an effective and innovative therapy for a currently untreatable diseases while helping boost the competitiveness of Japan’s life sciences industry. The bank accordingly decided to offer support through the DBJ Startups and Innovation Fund (see note 3) under the Special Investment Operations scheme. Toray will draw on this funding to accelerate efforts to develop the medical device to treat ARDS.

In exploring ways to help enhance medical care, Toray will keep striving to materialize its corporate philosophy of contributing to society by creating new value through innovative ideas, technologies, and products.

This composite spinning technology divides raw resins (polymers) into a large number of fine flows that quickly discharge and converge. It is thus possible to design cross sections of composite fibers far more precisely than with conventional technology. NANODESIGN is a registered trademark of Toray Industries, Inc.
NANODESIGN Website: https://www.nanodesign.toray/en/
2.  Specified Investment Operations scheme
This is an intensive and temporary scheme to supply growth capital. It taps industrial investments from the Japanese government to encourage the private sector to provide growth capital, thus promoting regional economic revitalization while fostering the competitiveness of Japanese enterprises.
3.  DBJ Startups and Innovation Fund
The Development Bank of Japan established this fund to help create and develop startups and build an innovation ecosystem under the Specified Investment Operations scheme.