The Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University (CiRA), Takeda and Yokohama City University enters a Joint Research Agreement on an iPS Cell Research Project

The Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University (CiRA), Takeda and Yokohama City University enters a Joint Research Agreement on an iPS Cell Research Project

November 9, 2016

Launching a Research Project on Application of Miniature Liver Technology to Drug Discovery as Part of T-CiRA

Kyoto, Osaka and Yokohama, Japan, November 9, 2016 -the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University (CiRA), Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) and Yokohama City University announced today that they entered the joint research agreement on application of the method to produce miniature livers from human iPS cells (miniature liver technology)* to drug discovery.

* A method to create a miniature size of a three-dimensional human organ with vascular structures from human iPS cells by imitating the early process of organ development in the womb

This project, which is a part of the joint research program called “Takeda-CiRA Joint Program for iPS Cell Applications” (T-CiRA) announced by CiRA and Takeda in April 2015, will be led by Associate Professor Takanori Takebe, Department of Regenerative Medicine, Yokohama City University Graduate School of Medicine, as the principal investigator. Being the eighth project for T-CiRA, this will be the first project to be led by a researcher outside of CiRA.

Based on human iPS cell-derived miniature liver generation technology developed at Yokohama City University, this research will focus on developing an innovative system that can recreate the complex phenomena found within patients’ bodies. In this way, it will create brand new drug discovery architecture to investigate new therapeutic drugs for intractable diseases or novel predictive platform for detecting rare adverse events that were previously unforeseen with traditional drug discovery research and so on.

“I wish to transform this basic technology towards real world clinical application for the people who are in desperate needs for new therapies,” said Takanori Takebe, Associate Professor of Yokohama City University, the principal investigator of the project. “With my wonderful colleagues and environments at T-CiRA, I am hoping to accelerate this research program to change the patients’ outcome.”

“The technology to produce miniature livers by simultaneously culturing multiple types of cells is revolutionary,” said Shinya Yamanaka, M.D., Ph.D., Director of CiRA, who is a Nobel laureate in 2012 for his work on iPS cells. “I expect Associate Professor Takebe to carry out creative research by taking advantage of T-CiRA.”

“We are very much excited that Dr. Takebe has joined T-CiRA as one of the Principal Investigators,” said Seigo Izumo, Global Head of Regenerative Medicine of Takeda and Takeda's Chief Advisor to Professor Yamanaka. “We hope that his research on the application of the miniature liver technology to drug discovery will lead to the development of innovative treatments in the near future.”

About Yokohama City University
Located in the international city of Yokohama, Yokohama City University has 4 campuses, 2 faculties, 5 graduate schools, 2 affiliated research centers, and 2 affiliated hospitals that serve as the bases for education, research, and medical care. Specifically, medical science research including regenerative medicine using iPS cells, etc. is led by the Advanced Medical Research Center, which serves as the research center of the Research Center Network for Regenerative Medicine (Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development: AMED) (Director: Professor Hideki Taniguchi). Additional information about Yokohama City University is available through its website at

About the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University CiRA 
CiRA was established on April 1, 2010 to serve as the world’s first core institute dedicated to pioneering iPS cell research. With Dr. Shinya Yamanaka serving as Director, CiRA’s 30 research groups are engaged in fundamental science of cell reprogramming and human development, clinical applications, and bioethics, with the overall goal of using iPS cells to realize regenerative medicine and drug discovery. Additional information about CiRA is available through its website at

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE: 4502) is a global, R&D-driven pharmaceutical company committed to bringing better health and a brighter future to patients by translating science into life-changing medicines. Takeda focuses its research efforts on oncology, gastroenterology and central nervous system therapeutic areas. It also has specific development programs in specialty cardiovascular diseases as well as late-stage candidates for vaccines. Takeda conducts R&D both internally and with partners to stay at the leading edge of innovation. New innovative products, especially in oncology, central nervous system and gastroenterology, as well as its presence in emerging markets, fuel the growth of Takeda. More than 30,000 Takeda employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients, working with our partners in health care in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit

Related materials
Press releases:

T-CiRA website

Media Contacts:

Yokohama City University
Makoto Watanabe
TEL: +81 (0) 45-787-2510
[email protected]

Center for iPS Cell Research and Application CiRA, Kyoto University
Akemi Nakamura
TEL: +81 (0) 75-366-7005
[email protected]

Kazumi Kobayashi
TEL: +81 (0) 3-3278-2095
[email protected]

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