Japan's yen for regenerative meds: Fujifilm to buy Cellular Dynamics

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Regenerative medicine Stem cell

Yen for regenrative meds drives Fujifilm acquisition
Yen for regenrative meds drives Fujifilm acquisition
Fujifilm will buy Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) for $307m to add induced stem cells to its offering and further build in regenerative medicines.

The deal - which will see Fujifilm pay $307m (€285m) in cash for the Wisconsin-headquartered cell producer - is expected to complete before the end of June.

CDI supplies induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to drugmakers for candidate screening and safety and efficacy testing. The US firm operates facilities in Madison, Wisconsin and Novato, California and employs 155 staff.

The planned takeover follows just months after Fujifilm acquired a majority stake in Japan Tissue Engineering (JTE), a regenerative medicine-focused developer. The earlier acquisition was acknowledged as a driver by CEO Shigetaka Komorisaid.

We are delighted to be able to pursue the business from drug discovery to regenerative medicine with CDI, which develops and manufactures iPS cells.”

Komorisaid added: “We have optimal scaffolding material, ‘recombinant peptides’, for cell generation and technologies useful for regenerative medicines such as material science and engineering.

Japan Tissue Engineering, markets regenerative medicine products in Japan. By welcoming CDI to the Fujifilm Group and by combining the technologies and knowhow of both companies, we will seek synergies and efficiencies to be more competitive in the field of drug discovery and regenerative medicine​.”

Government backing

Regenerative medicine is a big focus for the Japanese Government.

Laws introduced in November – the revised pharmaceutical affairs law​ and new regenerative medicines legislation​ – mean such products could be reviewed and approved in just two years, if deemed to be effective.

Japan’s Government further underlined its commitment to regenerative medicine in its budget in January, allocating Y2.5bn ($20.8bn) to “the industrialisation of regenerative medicine evaluation fundamental technology development business.​”

Fujifilm’s JTE unit, which already has two regenerative therapy products approved in Japan (here​ and here​), predicted that the new laws mean 2015 “promises to be a full year​” and outlined plans for a contract cell culturing business.

News of the CDI deal also follows a few months after Fujifilm bought 49% of Texas, US-based vaccine contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) and GSK partner Kalon Therapeutics​.

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