Otsu/Shiga, Japan – September 30, 2013 – Takara Bio Inc. announced today that, it has entered into the amendment of its license agreement with iPS Academica Japan, Inc. (“AJ”) to obtain a non-exclusive world-wide license to commercialize AJ’s expanded induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) patent portfolio. The expanded agreement, which is the first as a Japanese company, enables Takara Bio to offer iPSC construction services and iPSC reprogramming vectors, based on the new iPSC production technologies, to create iPSCs in a safer manner.


The iPSC technologies were developed by Professor Shinya Yamanaka, winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize, of the Center for iPSC Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University. Using iPSC technology, scientists can create iPSCs from patient-derived somatic cells that can then be differentiated into many cell types, such as neurons and hepatocytes for applications in basic research and pre-clinical studies.


Takara Bio executed its original license agreement to commercialize iPSC technology with AJ in April 2009. Under the original agreement Takara Bio has been offering the iPSC construction services and the research reagents for creating iPSCs using retroviral vectors. While such retrovirus-based methods have a very high reprogramming efficiency, the random integration of exogenous genes into the host genome has been considered as a potential cause of mutations leading to tumors. This is why, in the case of development of regenerative medicines, which require much higher safety standards as a clinical application in humans, non-integrated plasmid vectors are considered to be a more preferable way to produce iPSCs instead of using retrovirus vectors.


The research group of Professor Shinya Yamanaka has also found that plasmid vectors containing 6 factors such as OCT3/4, SOX2, KLF4, LIN28, L-MYC, p53 shRNA showed a higher iPSC reprogramming efficiency. These new technologies become available to Takara Bio under the amended agreement.


In addition, the amended agreement enables Takara Bio to sublicense to its customers a non-exclusive right to perform the screening of small chemicals for the purpose of drug discovery using the cells differentiated from iPSCs derived from the licensed products or from the licensed services that Takara Bio provides.


By leveraging its expertise in genetic engineering research and its global distribution network, Takara Bio is focusing on developing new products and new services relating to the stem cell research such as iPSCs and embryonic stem cells (ESCs) with the aim of growing its research reagent and contract research service businesses in the regenerative medicine fields by facilitating cutting-edge pluripotent stem cell research.


[ About Takara Bio Inc. ]

Takara Bio Inc. is an innovative biotechnology company based in Shiga, Japan. As a world leader in biotechnology research and development, Takara Bio was the first company to market PCR technology in Japan and is also the developer of the RetroNectin® reagent, which is a world-standard in gene therapy protocols. In addition to providing research reagents and equipment to the life science research market, Takara Bio has active research and product development activities in the fields of gene and cell-based therapy, and agricultural biotechnology including functional food and mushroom production businesses; and is committed preventing disease and improving the quality of life for all people through the use of biotechnology. Through strategic alliances with other industry leaders, the Company aims to extend its reach around the world. More information is available at http://www.takara-bio.com.


[ About iPS Academia Japan, Inc. ]

iPS Academia Japan, Inc. (AJ) is an affiliate of Kyoto University. Among other activities, one of its main roles is to manage and utilize the patents and other intellectual property held/controlled by Kyoto University and other entities in the field of iPSC technology so that research results may contribute to health and welfare worldwide. AJ was established in Kyoto in June 2008. As of September, 2013, AJ’s patent portfolio consisted of about 70 patent families (totaling approximately 280 patent applications) related to iPSC technology. More than 80 license arrangements have been executed with domestic or international enterprises. For more information, visit www.ips-cell.net/e..