Atsumaru Holdings Inc. is now offering high-quality silk for medical applications to be sold worldwide, and it is collaborating with VAXESS Technologies, a U.S. biotech startup

Atsumaru Holdings Inc. (Kumamoto City, Kumamoto Prefecture) succeeded in the stable production of high-quality silk equivalent to medical grade at the NSP Yamaga plant, which has the world's largest year-round aseptic sericulture line completed at the end of June 2017. In the future, Atsumaru will widely expand to supply domestic and overseas companies, research institutes, universities, etc.
Atsumaru Holdings and VAXESS Technologies (Boston, Massachusetts), a biotech startup that uses medical-grade high-quality silk in its devices, have recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for further collaboration in the future in connection with the development of novel medical device called "MIMIX™" developed by VAXESS.
In parallel with the establishment of a production system for high-quality silk, we have been developing applications for silk proteins extracted from cocoons in the medical field.
Silk protein is expected to be a next-generation bioabsorbable material, but due to concerns about the production environment, traceability, and supply stability, its use in products that are expected to be marketed has not materialized for a long time.
In order to overcome this problem, Atsumaru has established a consistent quality control system unique to the purpose-built plant. This includes pesticide-free cultivation of mulberry leaves in the mulberry garden managed by Atsumaru Yamaga Silk Inc. complete cocoon production in a self-contained facility, established production procedure, and documented traceability from raw materials to final product.

Starting with the collaboration with VAXESS, Atsumaru will maximize the potential of high-quality silk and work to solve social issues in the medical field.

Advantages of high-quality silk in medical device applications

After a comparative review by VAXESS of silks from competing production sites around the world (China, India, Brazil, etc.), Atsumaru was nominated as a partner for the following reasons.

1. An unparalleled level of cleanliness from breeding all ages in a self-contained clean environment
2. Traceability by completing all processes in-house, from mowing up (hatching) to cocoon harvesting and silk reeling
3. Quality control based on ISO9001 certification
4. Completely pesticide-free cultivation of mulberry leaves in the Dedicated mulberry farm

Overview for VAXESS company and product

VAXESS Technologies is developing the MIMIX™ sustained release patch technology, the easiest and most effective way to administer vaccines and therapeutics. Engineered for stability, VAXESS’s patch does not require refrigeration and can be shipped to and applied in low resource settings.
Once placed on the skin, each MIMIX™ patch delivers a microarray of slow-release, bioactive tips into the immunologically active dermal barrier. These bioactive tips gradually dissolve into the body after the patch is removed, releasing their payload of vaccines and therapeutics over time.
The slow-release, bioactive tips that make this possible are made from silk fibroin proteins—unlike any other existing technology.
VAXESS has raised more than $55M in grant and venture capital funding from groups such as RA Capital Management, The Engine, BARDA, DARPA, NIH, NSF and the Gates Foundation.

Assumed future schedule

VAXESS launched phase 1 clinical trial in July 2022 focused on evaluating the safety of an influenza vaccine delivered via the MIMIX™ patch. VAXESS will report the initial findings of its phase I trial in Q4 of 2022. Future trials will advance towards eventual licensure of the first patch-based influenza vaccine.