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Home › News and Events › 2015 › Researches › CiRA and Takeda Launch the Joint Program for iPS Cell Applications Research at the Shonan Research Center (T-CiRA)

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December 16, 2015

CiRA and Takeda Launch the Joint Program for iPS Cell Applications Research at the Shonan Research Center (T-CiRA)

Integrated teams focusing research efforts in six core therapeutic areas
including heart failure and oncology

Takeda and CiRA officials pose for reporters during the press conference at the Shona Research Center on Dec. 15. (From left) Associate Professor Makoto Ikeya, Professor Haruhisa Inoue, Professor Kenji Osafune, Associate Professor Shin Kaneko, Takeda President & CEO Christophe Weber, CiRA Director Shinya Yamanaka, Takeda Global Head of Regenerative Medicine Seigo Izumo, Associate Professor Hidetoshi Sakurai and Junior Associate Professor Yoshinori Yoshida

Kyoto and Osaka, Japan, December 15, 2015 - 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.

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 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

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

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.

Kenji Osafune

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.

Shin Kaneko

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.

Hidetoshi Sakurai 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

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 Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
ocated in Osaka, Japan, Takeda (TSE: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.

T-CiRA website
http://www.takeda.com/t-cira/

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