Nobel Prize-winning stem cell researcher, Professor Shinya Yamanaka, visits CGT Catapult

CGT Catapult welcomed Japanese Nobel Prize-winning stem cell researcher Professor Shinya Yamanaka to its development laboratories in London and manufacturing centre in Stevenage.

Japanese Nobel Prize-winning stem cell researcher Professor Shinya Yamanaka and other members of his team from the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, visited CGT Catapult to share collective experience in the development of iPS cells for clinical applications.

During the visit Professor Yamanaka gave an update on the work of CiRA and highlighted their vision to promote iPS cell-based regenerative medicine. Members of the CGT Catapult executive team shared their experience in the manufacture of iPS cells at scale and how CGT Catapult is supporting the development of iPS cell therapies. The visitors from CiRA also visited the CGT Catapult manufacturing centre in Stevenage and took a tour of the centre.

Professor Shinya Yamanaka was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent. The resulting induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are a key part of CGT Catapults strategy. They hold great promise in the field of regenerative medicine because of their ability to propagate and be converted to all of the body’s cell types.

As part of his visit to the UK, Professor Yamanaka delivered a keynote presentation on Recent Progress in iPS Cell Research and Application at the World Advanced Therapies & Regenerative Medicine Congress 2019 which took place in London.

Professor Yamanaka’s work in generating the first iPS cells inspired the creation of the iPS cell therapy industry. Having been awarded the Nobel Prize in 2012, as CGT Catapult was being established, both organisations have since been working to translate the potential of this research into benefits for patients.

It is fantastic that as part of his visit to the UK Professor Yamanaka chose to visit CGT Catapult and we hope that this is the beginning of a close relationship where both organisations can work together to achieve our shared vision.

Keith Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, CGT Catapult

It is one of the major purposes of CiRA to establish new clinical applications using iPS cells, and while the field has seen rapid advancement there is still much to learn about the fundamental mechanisms that lead to the creation of clinical-grade iPS cells with high quality.

I have really enjoyed this visit to CGT Catapult and I am impressed by their facilities because we have also a CPC facility, called FiT. CGT Catapult is committed to overcoming barriers to the scale up of iPS cell production. I hope our two organisations can work closely together in the future to bring iPSC technology to the clinic.

Professor Shinya Yamanaka, Director, Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University

During the visit, Professor Yamanaka had the chance to speak with some of the CGT Catapult staff about the projects they are working on. You can see some photos taken on the day below:

Yamanaka Manufacturing Centre Reception
Yamanaka visit QC labs
Yamanaka visit Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre