ActualEyes, Inc. replaces corneal transplantation with its innovative cell therapy and pharmaceutical treatment

The mission of ActualEyes, Inc. is to develop novel treatments for unmet medical needs in ophthalmology. We conduct research and development that changes ophthalmic medicine by leveraging the strengths of a bio-venture originating in academia. Our strengths include the ability to identify unmet medical needs, access to cutting-edge research technologies, and an extensive global network of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).

  • Our current major products under development are: (i) eye drops for Fuchs endothelial corneal endothelial dystrophy (development codes: AE001 and AE002) and (ii) a regenerative medicine for corneal endothelial disorders (development code: AE101).
  • We are developing a drug candidate for Fuchs endothelial corneal endothelial dystrophy (AE001) in collaboration with Santen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. A Phase II clinical trial (PHANTOM study) for global development was initiated in the United States in May 2022.
  • A cell therapy product for corneal endothelial diseases (development code: AE101) is currently under development in China under an exclusive license agreement with Arctic Vision for Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan) and South Korea. In Japan, we have also entered into a co-development agreement with D. Western Therapeutics Institute, Inc. We have also entered into an agreement with Japan Tissue Engineering Co., Ltd. to manufacture the product, and we plan to start clinical trials in fiscal year 2023.


Iku SugiokaPresident & CEO


In Japan, novel technologies linked to innovative therapies are born one after another in academia. However, these novel technologies can seldom be delivered to patients as successful therapeutics.

ActualEyes Inc. focuses on efforts to research and develop novel pharmaceutical and cell therapies based upon seed research developed by Professors Noriko Koizumi and Naoki Okumura at Doshisha University. Our commitment is to provide safe and rapid delivery of these new pharmaceutical and cell therapies to patients and to society, and our mission is that the research results of Doshisha University, a global leader in corneal endothelial research, will be realized, providing hope to patients suffering from impaired eyesight.


1981Yoshitomi Seiyaku (later Mitsubishi Pharma Corporation), Sales Manager, Licensing Manager, etc.
2004Licensing Manager, AstraZeneca KK
2014Director, Licensing Department, RaQualia Pharma
2016President, OIS PharmaPartner, LLC
2018President and CEO, ActualEyes, Inc.

Naoki Okumura, MD, PhDManager of Research and Development Department
Professor, Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University


After graduating from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in 2001, I began my career as an ophthalmologist. Since 2006, I have been working with Professor Noriko Koizumi of Doshisha University to elucidate the pathogenesis of corneal endothelial diseases and to develop drug therapies and regenerative medicine. Convinced that we can solve unmet medical needs through research, I am working with many students in my laboratory at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Life Science and Medical Bioscience, Doshisha University.

Universities sometimes produce research results that have the potential to change the world. However, refining the results of this research into products is not the forte of universities. ActualEyes, Inc. was formed to develop the therapeutic drugs for corneal endothelial regenerative medicine and Fuchs corneal endothelial dystrophy discovered at Doshisha University. The corporation’s goal is to ensure the industrialization of seed discoveries made at universities in collaboration with the founding members and core company members who have long been active in pharmaceutical and other companies. We have taken on this challenge because we believe that turning seed ophthalmology treatments discovered at universities into products through the power of a university-launched bio-venture is the best strategy for helping patients suffering from visual impairments.


2001Graduated from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
2001-2003Resident in Ophthalmology, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
2003-2006Clinical fellow, Machida Hospital, Kochi, Japan
2006-2010Postgraduate Studies, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
2010-2011Assistant professor, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
2011-2014Assistant professor, Doshisha University
2011-presentVisiting associate professor, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine
2015-2020Associate professor, Doshisha University
2020-presentVisiting professor, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine
2020-presentProfessor, Doshisha University

Masahiko KatoDirector, in charge of Administration and Legal Affairs


Translating basic research results into practical applications that benefit society is extremely challenging in any field and even more so in the world of pharmaceuticals for human treatment. The huge barrier that exists between basic research and practical application is difficult to overcome, even for large companies, but it is particularly problematic for small venture companies with limited management resources in terms of funds and manpower. However, ActualEyes, Inc. has some strengths because we are a small, elite company. One of these strengths is our ability to make decisions quickly and flexibly on various issues. Another strength is our ability to leverage external resources through alliances and outsourcing in the form of joint research and development, licensing, and outsourced manufacturing, based on our superior intellectual property. ActualEyes, Inc., as a bio-venture company originating from Doshisha University, works hard every day to overcome the obstacles that stand in its way through the combined efforts of university researchers and people from other companies.


1979Medical Representative, Ono Pharmaceuticals
1983Corporate Planning, Licensing, Legal & IP, Nippon Boehringer Ingelheim
2006Manager of Legal Department, Furuno Electric
2008Manager of Legal Department, Toyo Tanso
2018Director, ActualEyes, Inc.

Noriko Koizumi, MD, PhDChief Scientific Officer (CSO)
Professor, Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University


I am a clinician-scientist in the field of ophthalmology and have been working on the development of new treatment methods for corneal endothelial diseases at the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, a newly established program at Doshisha University in 2008. The world's first corneal endothelial regenerative medicine based on human corneal endothelial cell culture and cell injection transplantation technology was established at Doshisha University. It has since been confirmed as effective and safe through clinical research initiated at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in 2013. We are also working on the development of an eye drop treatment for Fuchs' corneal endothelial dystrophy, the most common corneal endothelial disease worldwide. To date, we have discovered several candidate compounds by elucidating the pathophysiology of Fuchs' corneal endothelial dystrophy and screening drugs using disease model cells established at Doshisha University. The rapid and reliable delivery of the innovative medical treatments based on these research findings to society requires the help of many experts involved in drug development. We hope to bring new treatments for corneal diseases to patients around the world through ActualEyes, Inc., a corporation established by a team of experts who agree with our dream.


1994MD - Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine
2000PhD - Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Postgraduate course
2000Research Fellow in Ophthalmology, Cologne University
2002Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellow, Cologne University
2003Associate Professor, Research Center for Regenerative Medicine, Doshisha University
2008Associate Professor, Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University
2010Professor, Faculty of Life and Medical Sciences, Doshisha University
2010Visiting Professor, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine
2015Visiting Clinical Professor, Kyoto University

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Ophthalmology
Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology (2018-2022 Editorial Board member)
Japanese Cornea Society (Board member)
Japanese Association for Ocular Infection (Board member) Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine (Board member)
Japanese Society of Ophthalmology
Japanese Ophthalmology Association

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