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Press News

2011.09.30 Joint R&D with Asahi Kasei for Cell Processing Equipment for Cancer Treatment ~Contributing to cancer treatment with cell therapy and regenerative medicine~

tella, Inc. signed a contract with Asahi Kasei Corporation (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; President: Taketsugu Fujiwara) for joint R&D activities for the creation of a cell processing equipment to be used for cancer treatment.

1. Summary of joint R&D activities
tella and Asahi Kasei will allow the two companies to combine their outstanding technologies concerning cell therapy and regenerative medicine. The objective is to commercialize cell processing equipment for the stable and efficient culture of high-quality cells for cancer treatment. The joint effort aims to enable the culture of cells of higher, more stable quality in a shorter time and at reduced cost by applying the experience and know-how in medical business as well as the cell processing technology of Asahi Kasei to the immunocyte culture process for dendritic cell (DC) vaccine therapy and other cancer treatment technologies where tella is performing R&D activities. Creating practical cell processing equipment for the treatment of cancer is expected to make a big contribution to the widespread use of cell therapy to treat cancer in Japan and around the world.

2. Background for joint R&D
In cell therapy and regenerative medicine, most of the process required to culture cells from patients and donors is performed manually by cell culture technicians. As a result, the technical skills of these cell culture technicians have a significant effect on the quality of cells and efficiency of the cell culture process. This is why finding a way to supply high-quality cells with stability and efficiency has been a major issue in the field of cell therapy and regenerative medicine. tella’s core strength is the ability to use advanced technologies and know-how to culture high-quality dendritic and other cells. Based on technology resulting from R&D activities at The Institute of Medical Science at the University of Tokyo, tella currently provides the DC vaccine therapy, which is a type of cancer immunotherapy, and other cancer treatment technologies and know-how to 18 medical institutions throughout Japan. These institutions include national hospitals and university hospitals. The DC vaccine therapy reduces worries about side effects because this treatment attacks only cancer cells and does no harm to normal cells. The number of individuals treated with this therapy at tella’s contracted medical institutions ranks tella first in Japan in the use of this technology. tella has used its pioneering role in cell immunology treatment for cancer to achieve rapid growth.
Asahi Kasei launched a Health Care for Tomorrow project to proactively expand its business in the field of health care under its “For Tomorrow 2015” management initiative. This initiative began this year as part of Asahi Kasei’s desire to create new value for society through operations that contribute to living in health and comfort. One key area of focus is the development of practical systems for cell therapy and regenerative medicine by applying a wide range of Asahi Kasei Group technologies. One example is device technology for the collection, concentration, and removal of antibodies, specific cells, and other components from blood based on the group’s world-leading technology for membrane separation and selective adsorption. Asahi Kasei also has technologies for developing and manufacturing specially controlled medical devices, Planova™ virus removal filter and related bioprocess technologies, and technologies for developing materials with outstanding biocompatibility.
By combining their two core technologies, tella and Asahi Kasei plan to perform joint R&D activities for creating cell processing equipment for cancer treatment that is competitive in terms of quality and cost.