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Hitachi, ThinkCyte Partner to Develop AI-Driven Cell Analysis, Sorting System

NEW YORK – Hitachi said on Wednesday that it is partnering with ThinkCyte to develop an artificial intelligence-driven cell analysis and sorting system.

The firms plan to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies and research institutes working in the field of regenerative medicine and cell therapy to expedite commercialization of the system.

Tokyo-based Hitachi provides large-scale automated induced pluripotent stem cell culture equipment, cell processing facilities, manufacturing execution systems, and biosafety cabinets to support the regenerative medicine and cell therapy industries, and has been collaborating with others to develop technologies to reduce manufacturing costs and create stable and reliable instruments. It said that the codeveloped system is expected to help it reduce the cost of manufacturing regenerative medicine and cell therapy products.

ThinkCyte, also headquartered in Tokyo with an additional office in San Carlos, California, performs R&D focused on high-throughput single-cell analysis and sorting technology. The company has developed so-called "ghost cytometry" for high-throughput and high-content single-cell sorting. Described in a report in Science in 2018, ghost cytometry integrates advanced imaging, machine learning, and microfluidics to isolate target cells with high throughput and minimal cell damage.

By combining this technology with Hitachi's know-how and large-scale instrument manufacturing capabilities, the partners plan to develop a system to enable high-speed, label-free cell isolation with high accuracy, which has been difficult to achieve with existing cell sorting techniques, Hitachi said.