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May 12, 2010

New licensing agreement on iPS cell technology

May 7, 2010 – The Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) is delighted with the announcement that a new non-exclusive licensing agreement for key patents on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology has been formed between the US-based firm Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI), and iPS Academia Japan, Inc. (iPS–AJ). iPS-AJ manages iPS cell-related intellectual property owned by Kyoto University while CDI handles patent technologies held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), the University of Wisconsin-Madison's tech transfer vehicle.

The licensing marks a new, international step for iPS–AJ, which to date has established multiple licensing arrangements domestically. The agreement with CDI is iPS–AJ's first with a company based outside of Japan. By combining the strengths of Kyoto University's and other patent portfolios on this exciting new technology, it is hoped that this will accelerate use for iPS cells in research and development in such fields as drug discovery and testing, and regenerative medicine.

CDI is the world's largest producer of cellular tools for drug discovery and safety derived from iPS cells, and was founded by James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin, who is recognized as a pioneer in the field of human embryonic stem (hES) cell research, and who published one of the first two reports, simultaneously with the Shinya Yamanaka group, on the generation of human iPS cells.

CiRA Director Yamanaka commented on the agreement, "I am excited about the possibility of speeding the drive to develop uses for iPS cells in medicine, and this non-exclusive agreement with CDI will spur many more such deals with companies in Japan and abroad, with the hope of moving toward application as quickly as possible."

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