Human Metabolome Technologies (HMT): Giving Drug Discovery the Metabolomic Advantage
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Human Metabolome Technologies (HMT): Giving Drug Discovery the Metabolomic Advantage

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Ryuji Kanno, President & CEO, Human Metabolome Technologies (HMT)Ryuji Kanno, President & CEO
Found within any biological sample of living organisms, metabolomes are sets of small-molecule metabolites, produced as a result of physiological processes. Metabolomes can offer unparalleled insights into the interactions between different chemical components and their role in various physiological functions. Apart from traditional diagnosis, metabolic profiling of biological samples in drug discovery and development helps healthcare companies and researchers understand the mechanism of action, surrogate markers, and toxicity of potential drug candidates. Eliminating the potential toxic drug candidates before a clinical trial begins assists customers in saving billions of dollars. The critical application of this field of study has also seen a surge in metabolomics platform providers. Currently, the European market is on the verge of this tectonic shift that is redefining the traditional biomarker discovery and drug development processes through collaboration between pharmaceutical, academic, healthcare companies, and metabolomic platform providers.

Human Metabolome Technologies (HMT), headquartered in Japan, is a market leader among metabolomics contract research organizations (CRO) and manufacturers of capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry (CE-MS) instrument for metabolome analysis. A leader in CE-MS technology in Japan, HMT develops metabolomics platforms that provide highly accurate qualitative and quantitative data for researchers. Examples of where such data proves to be pivotal are the elucidation of metabolic drug targets, monitoring of the Warburg effect in cancer, toxicity analysis of anti-cancer drugs and drug resistance mechanisms. HMT has an all-inclusive business model, and works with clients from start to finish, including strategic, statistical, and scientific support. Ryuji Kanno, President and CEO of HMT says, “We want to help healthcare businesses explore the emerging opportunities in biomarker discovery and development, through CE-MS-based research and a unique set of metabolomic platforms.”

We want to help healthcare businesses explore the emerging opportunities in biomarker discovery and development, through CE-MS-based research and a unique set of metabolomic platforms


Recently, HMT collaborated with a pharmaceutical company regarding an anti-cancer drug that was under preclinical development. This pharmaceutical company faced a challenge in deciphering the targeting mechanism. With the help of HMT’s technology, they quantified traces of oxidative stress, mitochondrial functions, and energy deprivation in cellular physiology during the procedure. This discovery led to the advancement of multiple clinical trials, in which data collected through HMT’s platform was used for discovering prognostic markers.

HMT can identify over a thousand chemical compounds and species of metabolites through its proprietary CE-MS technology. The company has conducted over 5,000 projects and contributed to over 400 publications. Their services have assisted various projects involving the efficacy/ toxicity/tolerance mechanism of drugs in both in-vitro and in-vivo studies. In addition, to help in performing in-depth metabolome analysis, HMT developed an original software analysis platform along with measuring technologies like CE-MS, LC-MS, and MS/MS. For example, Basic Scan is a CE-MS-based metabolome analysis package that can be combined with a lipidomics offering using an LC-MS platform for biomarker discovery. Other platforms include C-SCOPE, a targeted analysis of 116 metabolites that constitute the core metabolic pathways involved in primary energy metabolism. HMT also offers F-SCOPE, a stable isotope-tracing service that allows for the tracing of labeled substrates, which is often used to elucidate activated metabolic pathways and fluxes.
Last year, HMT released ω Scan—the only platform developed using HMT’s patented interface that utilizes CE combined with Fourier-Transform MS (CE-FTMS) to offer higher sensitivity and expanded coverage and the Lipid Mediator Scan, a new solution to measure lipid mediators of for immuno-metabolism assays. For 2019, HMT is looking forward to launching a new global initiative. Kanno says, “As the field of metabolomics grows, we are actively engaging with more pharmaceutical companies, expanding to newer fields of research and developing novel products.”