PHCbi Develops First Prototype for Live Cell Metabolic Analysis, Paving the Way for Advances in Cell Therapy and Gene Therapy

PHC Corporation of North America (hereafter, PHCNA,) a leader in laboratory equipment for the biopharmaceutical, life sciences, academic, healthcare and government markets, announced today that the Biomedical Division of PHC Corporation (hereafter, PHCbi,) a global provider of laboratory and medical support equipment and services for the life science field based in Japan and a sister company of PHCNA, has developed its prototype "Live Cell Metabolic Analyzer" that enables researchers to see changes in the metabolic activity of cells in real-time. It uses an electrochemical sensor, one of PHC Corporation's core technology, to monitor and analyze the glucose and lactate concentrations in culture media.

PHCNA will host a webinar*1 on Xtalks about the Live Cell Metabolic Analyzer and its applications on Tuesday, July 26 at 11:00 a.m. EDT/ 5:00 p.m. CEST/Wednesday, July 27 at 0:00 a.m. JST.

Cell and gene therapies are expected to offer new treatment methods to patients with diseases that have previously been difficult to treat. As governments including the US and European countries promote expansion of cell and gene therapies, the field is projected to grow significantly.

It has become increasingly critical in recent years to understand the metabolic state of cells in cancer immunology such as CAR-T cell therapy*2, and stem cell research*3. Also, when manufacturing high-quality cellular pharmaceuticals, it is essential to monitor cell conditions like the state of cell proliferation and differentiation in real-time. In current manufacturing processes, sampling and testing the cell culture media repeatedly is the dominant method for evaluating cell conditions. However, identifying exactly when changes occur in cells over time is difficult since the measured data are gathered at discrete points. In addition, every sample of culture media involves the risk of contamination. Therefore, a new method is required for quantitative and precise measurement and evaluation of cellular changes over time without the need for sampling culture media each time.

The Live Cell Metabolic Analyzer, currently under development by PHCbi can visualize metabolic changes of cells being cultured in real-time without sampling the culture media. The prototype continuously measures the concentration of glucose, which is consumed in the process of cell growth and differentiation, and lactate, which is produced as waste product. The device uses a proprietary In-Line sensor*4, which is anticipated to create opportunities for new discoveries in basic research fields such as cell metabolism and cell therapy for scientists. Furthermore, we expect this sensor to enable new developments as a fundamental technology that contributes to stable cell production for the practical application of cell therapies.

Based on the results of joint projects with research institutes, PHCbi will establish the technology for continuous measurement of glucose and lactate concentrations and metabolic analysis using the In-Line sensor, and aim to release the cell metabolic analyzer for use by researchers globally.


PHCbi has been developing solutions in the cell therapy field for more than 20 years, including the Cell Conditioning and Processing Facility*5 (Cell Processing Center) developed in 2000 and the Cell Processing Isolator*6 launched in 2007. PHCbi will continue to invest in the creation of innovative solutions designed to solve quality, cost, and delivery issues in the research and development of cell and gene therapies, therapeutic medicine production, and treatment processes for patients, contributing to practical applications of new modalities.

*2 It is a treatment for refractory cancers that are difficult to kill completely by normal immune function alone. In this therapy, the patient's own T cells are extracted and modified to produce a particular protein called chimeric antibody receptor (CAR) using genetic modification technology, and then these CAR-T cells are administered to the patient.
*3 Research on cells that can divide and produce cells identical to themselves and ability to differentiate into other types of cells.
*4 A sensor that continuously measures cellular metabolites without sampling by constant immersion in the medium.
*5 Strictly controlled cell processing facilities for aseptic processing of cell culture, processing, among others.
*6 A device that allows performing a series of cell processing procedures while maintaining a sterile environment by combining a closed space inside an isolator, which is sterilized with hydrogen peroxide, with removable culture module, and centrifugation module, among others.


About PHC Corporation of North America
PHC Corporation of North America, located in Wood Dale, IL, is a leader in laboratory equipment for the biopharmaceutical, life sciences, academic, healthcare and government markets. Product lines under the PHCbi brand include the space saving and energy efficient VIP® ECO and TwinGuard® ultra-low temperature freezers, cryogenic and biomedical freezers, pharmacy and high-performance refrigerators, cell culture CO2 and multigas incubators, and Drosophila/plant growth chambers. PHC Corporation of North America is a subsidiary of PHC Holdings Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, which is a global healthcare company that develops, manufactures, sells, and services solutions across diabetes management, healthcare solutions, diagnostics and life sciences.
About the Biomedical Division of PHC Corporation
Established in 1969, PHC Corporation is a Japanese subsidiary of PHC Holdings Corporation (TSE 6523), a global healthcare company that develops, manufactures, sells, and services solutions across diabetes management, healthcare solutions, life sciences and diagnostics. The Biomedical Division supports the life sciences industry helping scientists and researchers in around 110 countries through its laboratory and equipment and services including CO2 incubators and ultra-low temperature freezers.