IPierian and Kyoto University Patent Deal for iPSC Technology
The agreements allow iPierian to marry slightly different technologies developed in Japan by researchers, Shinya Yamanaka and Kazuhiro Sakurada, the godfather of induced pluripotent stem cell technology, who will join the scientific advisory board of privately held iPierian.
- Yamanaka is the Kyoto University professor who first manipulated “adult” stem cells; those that have matured into skin, heart or other cells to return to their embryonic-like state;
- IPierian assigned to Kyoto University the IPS patent estate it acquired in 2008 from Bayer Schering Pharma AG. These patents are based on research conducted at Bayer Yakuhin Ltd.’s Kobe Research Center in Japan by Sakurada;
- In return, Kyoto University and iPS Academia Japan, a university affiliate that manages the school’s IPS technologies, granted iPierian non-exclusive worldwide rights to its combined estate for IPS cell technology for drug discovery and development.
The Bottom Line: The deals appear to settle a potential patent situation regarding induced pluripotent stem cells that can be directed by scientists to develop into any cell in the body. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed, but the agreements are fundamental for iPierian to quickly tap iPSC technology to help Big Pharma partners develop and screen potential drugs. The iPierian-Kyoto pacts could be worth hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars over the long term. IPierian now can show potential partners that its patents are broad, a strategic advantage when discussing long-term partnerships. (HWM and RLeuty, SFBT)