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Kyoto University's Center for iPS Cell Research Application and Takeda Launch the Joint Program for iPS Cell Applications Research at the Shonan Research Center (T-CiRA)

15.12.2015 01:00 | Business Wire

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The Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) announced today the initiation of the joint research program to develop clinical applications of induced pluripotent stem cells. The "Takeda-CiRA Joint Program for iPS Cell Applications" (T-CiRA) will begin research in six core directions to explore clinical applications of stem cells in therapeutic areas including cancer, heart failure, diabetes mellitus, neuro-degenerative disorders and intractable muscle diseases.

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Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technologies have the potential to bring about ground-breaking transformations to future medical treatments, and their applications span a variety of fields, including drug discovery, cell therapy and drug safety assessments. During the next 10 years, Takeda will provide collaborative funding of 20 billion yen, and will jointly run multiple projects led by researchers invited from CiRA and other universities. The collaboration is expected to make significant contributions to the application of iPSC technology into clinical practice, which requires a significant amount of time, effort and investment. It is aligned with the purpose of National Projects of Japan on clinical applications of iPS cell technologies.

"I am so happy to see that the six research groups, comprised of researchers from Takeda and CiRA, have been kicked off their research projects, with generous support from Takeda. Using iPSC technology as a tool, this collaboration will develop new approaches to drug discovery and produce new cures to intractable diseases over the next 10 years," said Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., Ph.D., director of CiRA, who is a Nobel laureate in 2012 for his work on iPS cells.

"Takeda is proud to be part of this important research program. Academic and research partnerships, particularly with renowned scientific institutions such as Kyoto University, are critical to advancing clinical knowledge and potential future applications that could improve patient lives," said Christophe Weber, President & CEO of Takeda. "This partnership also marks a new direction for Takeda, by exploring cell therapies and genetic strategies to avert and remedy disease."

Currently, six projects, described below, are carried out simultaneously at Takeda's Shonan Research Center (Kanagawa, Japan) as the main venue, with approximately 60 researchers in total from CiRA and Takeda.

"New projects will be added to the T-CiRA Program when the new laboratory space is completed in April, 2016," said Seigo Izumo, who is Global Head of Regenerative Medicine and Takeda's chief advisor to Professor Yamanaka. "It is anticipated that the Program will have over 10 projects with participation of more than 100 researchers at its steady state."

 

Details of the six projects

Research leader   Theme
Makoto Ikeya

Associate Professor, CiRA

Research on neural crest cells:

Neural crest cells are vertebrate-specific cells that play a pivotal role in human development. Dr. Ikeya's team mainly focuses on neural crest stem cells for future drug discovery and regenerative medicine to treat disease in the wide variety of systems derived from these cells, such as kidney, gut and neurons.

Haruhisa Inoue

Professor, CiRA

ALS drug discovery and development using patient-derived iPSCs:

The aim of the project is to develop new drugs for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disorder, using patient derived iPSCs and Takeda’s compounds or drug libraries.

Shin Kaneko

Associate Professor, CiRA

Development of a novel immuno-cell therapy by iPSC-derived cancer antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes:

Dr. Kaneko's team is developing new cancer immuno-cell therapy drugs using iPSC technology. In addition, the combination of the iPS cell stock at CiRA and Takeda’s experience in drug development allows the team to investigate advanced regenerative medicine for cancer treatment.

Kenji Osafune

Professor, CiRA

iPS cell technology-based regenerative therapy for type 1 diabetes and drug discovery for type 2 diabetes:

Dr. Osafune’s team seeks to develop cell therapy against type 1 diabetes, by transplanting iPSC-derived pancreatic cells. In addition, drug discovery against type 2 diabetes, will be performed using iPSC-derived pancreatic cells and Takeda’s chemical compound libraries.

Hidetoshi Sakurai

Associate Professor, CiRA

Drug discovery for intractable muscular disease by patient-derived iPSCs:

Dr. Sakurai's team aims to establish new drugs for treating muscular diseases, such as muscular dystrophy or myopathy. To achieve this goal, they will utilize patient-derived iPSCs as a tool for disease modeling and drug screening.

Yoshinori Yoshida

Junior Associate Professor, CiRA

  Drug discovery for cardiac disease using next generation platforms:

Dr. Yoshida's research team aims to develop next generation platforms for drug discovery using iPSC-derived heart muscle cells by taking advantage of new technologies developed at CiRA, such as "micro RNA-switch". The team will develop a way to obtain stage- and subtype-specific heart muscle cells from human iPSCs, which facilitates disease modeling and drug discovery. The eventual goal is to discover new drugs for treatment of heart failure using such platforms.

 

About the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University (CiRA)
CiRA was established on April 1, 2010 to serve as the world’s first core institute dedicated to pioneering iPS cell research. With Dr. Shinya Yamanaka serving as Director, CiRA’s 30 research groups are engaged in fundamental science of cell reprogramming and human development, clinical applications, and bioethics, with the overall goal of using iPS cells to realize regenerative medicine and drug discovery. Additional information about CiRA is available through its website at www.cira.kyoto-u.ac.jp

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda (TOKYO:4502) is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com.

Related materials
Press release: CiRA and Takeda Enter 10-year Collaboration on iPS Cell Research
http://www.takeda.com/news/2015/20150417_6964.html
T-CiRA website
http://www.takeda.com/t-cira/

Contact information

Media contacts
Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University (CiRA)
Akemi Nakamura and Hiroyuki Wadahama, +81 (0)75-366-7005
International Public Communications Office
media@cira.kyoto-u.ac.jp
or
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd.
Japanese Media
Tsuyoshi Tada, +81 (0)3-3278-2417
tsuyoshi.tada@takeda.com
or
Media outside Japan
Jocelyn Gerst, +1 (224) 554-5542
jocelyn.gerst@takeda.com

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