Accelerating R&D for regenerative medicine products using iPS cells
Fujifilm Corporation has reached a basic agreement with the Australian regenerative medicine venture, Cynata Therapeutics Limited, to invest $3 million in the company.
Following the signing of a formal contract, Fujifilm will receive the third-party allocation of Cynata's new shares to acquire slightly more than 10% of Cynata's total number of shares issued.
Through the third-party share allocation, Fujifilm will have an option to acquire the development, manufacturing and sales licensing rights as well as contract manufacturing rights for the regenerative medicine product using allogeneic iPS cell-derived mesenchymal stem cells, for which Cynata plans to do a clinical trial on graft versus host disease (GvHD) patients.
The agreement also allows Fujifilm to access Cynata's technologies and know-how for developing regenerative medicine products using allogeneic iPS cell-derived mesenchymal stem cells.
Cynata is licensed to use the differentiation and induction technologies of the University of Wisconsin, which has a top-level technology concerning iPS cells and the company has already established technology for efficiently mass-producing allogeneic iPS cell-derived mesenchymal stem cells.
It is currently preparing for a clinical trial of a regenerative medicine product using allogeneic iPS cell-derived mesenchymal stem cells, after acceptance of the British MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) with excellent results of the product's preclinical trials.
The full clinical trial on GvHD patients is due to start in Britain at around the end of this year. It will use allogeneic iPS cells supplied by the Fujifilm subsidiary and leading company in iPS cell development and manufacturing, Cellular Dynamics International, based in the United States.
The clinical trial on the regenerative medicine product using allogeneic iPS cell-derived mesenchymal stem cells will start ahead of the rest of the world. By investing in Cynata, Fujifilm will acquire cutting-edge technologies and know-how to accelerate its R&D on regenerative medicine products.
Through CDI, Fujifilm is undertaking R&D of iPS cell-based cell therapies for age-related macular degeneration, Parkinson's disease and heart diseases. In the field of age-related macular degeneration, CDI is undertaking joint R&D with the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the US National Institute of Health. In January 2017, NEI plans to start clinical trial, using autologous iPS cell-derived cells supplied by CDI. The joint research and development with NEI, using allogeneic iPS cell-derived cells, is also in progress.
Fujifilm will work to make further progress in research and development in the field of regenerative medicine and contribute to the elevation of regenerative medicine business to the industrial stage.
Fujifilm will continue to fuse its expertise in highly functional materials and engineering nurtured through long-years of research in photographic film with the technologies held by Fujifilm group companies, such as the technology of Japan Tissue Engineering to produce cells for treatment and the world-leading iPS cell-related technology and know-how developed by CDI.