Press News

Press News

2013.12.05 Healios and tella Signed Memorandum of Agreement for the Business Alliance–Aiming to develop cancer immunotherapy using iPS cells–

Healios K.K. (former Retina Institute Japan K.K.; head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President and CEO: Hardy T S Kagimoto, MD), which aims to commercialize the world’s first practical applications of regenerative medicine using iPS cells, and tella, Inc. (head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President and Representative Director: Yuichiro Yazaki), which aims to become the first company in Japan to receive approval for cell immunotherapy drug (a regenerative medicine product for treating cancer), have signed Memorandum of Agreement for the business alliance today. Based on this agreement, Healios and tella will begin studies for the development of cancer immunotherapy using iPS cells.

Healios is a recognized venture enterprise of the Independent Administrative Institution RIKEN, promoting research and development of new methods, using iPS cell-derived transplants of retinal pigment epithelial cells, for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and other blinding disorders for which there is no effective treatment. About 80% of a person's sensory information is visually derived, and loss of sight makes daily living difficult. Healios's R&D is aimed at reducing, however little, the disabilities of visually impaired patients.

tella has a technology for the stable culturing of high-quality cells. tella provides 32 medical institutions throughout Japan, including university hospitals, with technologies and other expertise concerning the dendritic cell (DC) vaccine therapy and other cell immunotherapy treatments for cancer. In April 2013, tella and Kyushu University started a feasibility study for the production of cellular pharmaceuticals (regenerative medicine products). Work is under way with the goal of receiving approval for the DC vaccine Vaccell® as Japan’s first cell immunotherapy drug under Japan’s Act Concerning the Assurance of Quality, Effectiveness and Safety of Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices.

Healios and tella are determined to contribute to the creation of highly advanced therapies by combining the technologies and expertise of Healios regarding clinical applications of iPS cells with tella’s technologies and expertise involving the cell immunotherapy treatment for cancer.