Our History

KMT Hepatech, Inc. is a private company, which was founded in 2001 by Dr. Norman Kneteman, Dr. David Mercer and Dr. Lorne Tyrrell as a spin off company from the University of Alberta. The platform technology, the KMT MouseTM, is named after Drs. Kneteman, Mercer and Tyrrell.

Dr. Kneteman hypothesized that developing a method to support human liver cells in a mouse should allow support of Hepatitis C (HCV) infection, and yield a research model that would be invaluable to researchers. The attention was focused on immune deficient mice, as these mice could not reject the human liver cells when they are transplanted. A way to disadvantage a healthy mouse’s liver and enable the human liver cells to grow and replicate in the mouse model was found through the use of transgene that causes liver failure.

“Our Eureka moment was when Dr. Mercer got a call from the lab saying they had a positive test for Hep C, but that it must be a mistake, since the requisition said it was from a mouse. We knew then our research worked and we could grow human liver cells and infect these mice with Hep C,” says Dr. Kneteman.

The KMT MouseTM was widely used for drug discovery, development and pre-clinical studies. It provides an authentic viral infection model utilizing transplanted human liver cells infected with virus or parasite in a true in-vivo setting. Non-infected mice with humanized liver are utilized in safety/ toxicity and drug metabolism studies.

In 2017 KMT Hepatech became part of PhoenixBio group and will continue operations utilizing PXB-mouse®

Board of Directors

Takashi Shimada
Masakazu Kakuni
Yasuhiro Tamura
Yoshio Morikawa

KMT Hepatech
Dr. Norman Kneteman and Dr. Lorne Tyrrell (from Patent Portraits book by TEC Edmonton)


Our experienced team of highly skilled and knowledgeable scientific staff is able to design and execute a wide range of studies to meet your unique product development requirements.

Dr Masakazu Kakuni, President of KMT Hepatech

Dr. Masakazu Kakuni

Masakazu Kakuni, D.V.M., Ph.D. got a license of veterinarian in Japan and awarded a degree of Ph.D. in Veterinary Anatomy from The United Graduate School of Veterinary Science, Yamaguchi University.

He started his career from a pathologist in a Japanese Pharmaceutical Company (Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd.), and then joined PhoenixBio as a Director of Study Service Department in 2005. His major role at PhoenixBio was study director, and the total number of studies he managed is almost 1,000. Thus, he is one of the most experienced persons all over the world on utilizing of PXB-mice.

In addition, he has been an Executive Director of Study Service Department from 2014 and contributed on establishing business partnerships with Japanese Contract Research Organizations as well as on organizing some research programs with National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan.

Yoshio Morikawa Chief Strategy Officer KMT Hepatech

Yoshio Morikawa
Chief Strategy Officer

Mr. Yoshio Morikawa became a part of KMT’s executive management as Chief Strategy Officer after the acquisition of KMT Hepatech by PhoenixBio Co. Ltd. He is a President and CEO of PhoenixBio USA (New York, NY) and oversees all non-Japan strategic planning and sales activities. Mr. Morikawa has started his career at PhoenixBio Co. Ltd as a Manager, PXB-Mouse production department in November 2004. After he successfully established the large scale of production of PXB-mice in 2 years, he has been assigned as Manager of Overseas Business Development in October 2007 in order to expand the research services of PhoenixBio globally. He has been undertaking the role of Executive Vice President of RPBD from March 2014 until June 2018. Mr. Morikawa holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the School of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.

Kaz Fortuna KMT Hepatech

Kaz Fortuna
Executive Vice President

Kaz Fortuna, MSc., is the Executive Vice President at KMT Hepatech. He coordinates corporate
functions and manages finances, administration and HR. Mr. Fortuna has over 35 years of
experience in business and financial management with a background in the biotechnology,
manufacturing, and information technology sectors. Mr. Fortuna holds a Master of Science Degree in
Chemical Engineering from AGH University of Science and Technology in Cracow.

Verity Olson

Verity Olson
Vice President, Production

Verity Olson, BSc, is the newly appointed VP Production. She has been part of the senior management team with KMT for over 15 years. Ms. Olson’s role will include oversight and management of production of the PXB-mouse and PXB-cells as well as ensuring that KMT maintains high standards of animal care and continued CCAC animal care program accreditation and compliance.

Ms. Olson has 20+ years of experience managing animal care programs and facility operations working with outbred, inbred, and transgenic strains of mice. She completed her Registered Animal Laboratory Technician (RLATR) certification with the Canadian Association of Laboratory Animal Science in 2004. Additional professional development has included Animal Policy and Welfare Committee Institutional Animal User Training Program, Aseptic Techniques in Surgery, In Depth Mouse Necropsy, Colony Management: Principles and Practices, Microvascular Surgery, Mouse Embryo Manipulation and Recovery, Advanced Surgical Techniques, and Male/Female Sterilization and Recovery. Ms. Olson holds a BSc degree in Agriculture, with a major in Animal Science from the University of Alberta.