Hitachi Chemical licenses PCT tech and mulls cell therapy JV

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Medicine

Hitachi Chemical has licensed cell therapy manufacturing technology from PCT in a deal that may see the firms set up a European JV.

The deal – which was announced on March 14 – covers use of cell therapy manufacturing technology and ‘know-how’ in certain Asian countries according to PCT’s parent company, Caladrius Biosciences.

The agreement specifies that Hitachi Chemical pay upfront and milestone payments of $5.6m as well as services fees and royalties on contract revenue.

It will also see Tokyo, Japan-headquartered Hitachi Chemical pay $19.4m for a 19.9% stake in New Jersey, US-based PCT.   

Hitachi Chemical CEO Kazuyuki Tanaka said: “By leveraging PCT’s expertise and cell therapy technology, complementing PCT’s capabilities with our own and launching joint initiatives in new geographies, we will advance together towards that goal. 

In addition to using PCT’s support, Hitachi Chemical will receive technological assistance from Hitachi Group to develop a production control system, including automated facilities, to manufacture low cost yet high quality regenerative medicine cells​.”

The firms added that they have “agreed to explore the establishment of a joint venture in Europe​.”

Regenerative medicine is a big focus for the Japanese Government.

Laws introduced in November 2014 – the revised pharmaceutical affairs law​ and new regenerative medicines legislation​ – mean such products can 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 last year, allocating Y2.5bn ($20.8bn) to “the industrialisation of regenerative medicine evaluation fundamental technology development business.​”

News of the Hitachi Chemical deal comes a week or so after French biotech TxCell hired PCT to manufacture its candidate Crohn’s disease therapy – Ovasave – for planned US clinical trials.

At the time TxCell COO Miguel Forte said the firm plans “to examine options for manufacturing in Asia, and specifically Japan​.”

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