Press release: CiRA Foundation and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult set to launch new stem cell collaborative research

The companies will combine their expertise to explore novel methods to characterise pluripotent stem cells for the manufacture of regenerative medicine products.

CiRA Foundation and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) are launching a new collaborative research project focused on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell characterisation. The project aims to further the application of iPS cell technologies for the manufacture of regenerative medicine products.

The potential of distinct iPS cell lines for differentiation into specific cell types, such as cardiac muscle cells or white blood cells, is usually biased towards some cell line-specificity which is very difficult to predict. In order to select an appropriate iPS cell line for clinical trials, it is currently necessary to differentiate several candidate cell lines, which requires a great amount of time and effort.

By combining their expertise, the companies will explore novel methods of evaluating cell differentiation and aim to establish reliable tests to predict the potential of iPS cell to differentiation bias, a capability that would help to advance the use of iPS cells for regenerative medicine products.

Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., Ph.D., Representative Director, CiRA Foundation

We are very pleased to start our first collaborative research project since the launch of CiRA_F with Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, an institution whose world-class expertise in the cell therapy field is dedicated to the stimulation of partnership between academia and industry. We hope that results of this collaborative project aimed at the advancement of the clinical application of iPS cells will result in substantial progress towards commercialization of regenerative medicine.

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

We are honoured to collaborate with CiRA Foundation, an organisation with world-leading capabilities in iPS cell technology, and to be the first group to utilise CiRA’s innovative iPS cell lines outside of Japan. This is a truly exciting project to help further the application and manufacture of iPS cells into cell therapies. We look forward to progressing this promising research together, which has potential benefits for the global advanced therapies industry.

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

The fourth from the left: Matthew Durdy, CEO, CGT Catapult; Center: Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, Director, CiRA_F

About CiRA Foundation

The CiRA Foundation (CiRA_F) is a public interest incorporated foundation that started its activities independently from Kyoto University in April 2020 with the principle of delivering optimal iPS cell technology at a reasonable price. CiRA_F continues the iPS Cell Stock for Regenerative Medicine Project, started by the Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) since 2013. The aim of this project is to prepare multiple iPS cell lines, manufactured from healthy donors homozygous for human leukocyte antigen (HLA), which expands the number of people who can receive the cells in a therapy without a severe immune reaction, and provide them to academia or industries.