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DENSO partners with Euglena Corp. on micro algae R&D

Within a comprehensive alliance for business development of microalgae, both companies will cover 1. Development of biofuels business (“Green Oil Japan”), 2. R&D of micro algae culture technology, 3. Use of algae for foods and cosmetics, and 4. Production of substances by microalgae. The partnership will comprise Euglena’s focus on Euglena algae, and Denso’s on Pseudococcus. Both companies have already established pilot-scale production facilities.

Euglena Corp. and Denso news release, February 20, 2019

© Euglena Corp. and DENSO

DENSO partners with Euglena Corp. on micro algae R&D

Within a comprehensive alliance for business development of microalgae, both companies will cover 1. Development of biofuels business (“Green Oil Japan”), 2. R&D of micro algae culture technology, 3. Use of algae for foods and cosmetics, and 4. Production of...

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Gene Techno Science to develop dental pulp-derived stem cells for treatment of childrens’ diseases

Gene Technos Science Co. shareholders have approved to make Cell Technology, acquired in January 2019, a wholly-owned subsidiary. Cell Technology has a partnership with over 2000 medical institutions across Japan to provide services for dental pulp-derived and other stem cells. It supplies such cells to companies such as Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, Nikon and Sekisui for research and GeneTechnoscience is preparing to develop this product line further into cell therapeutics. JCR Pharma and Teijin have already implemented Phase I/II clinical tests of dental pulp-derived stem cells for the treatment of acute cerebral infarction in Japan.

Gene Techno Science news release, March 12, 2019

Nikkei Biotech news release, March 15, 2019

RIKEN and Hitachi succeed in automated culture of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell sheets derived from human iPS cells

A joint research team of Hitachi and RIKEN have successfully used a completely closed  automatic cell culture system for culturing RPE cell sheets derived from human iPS cells. using a culture device. By analysis of various markers it was demonstrated that these RPE cell sheets showed the same level of quality as those cultured by skilled technicians.

Hitachi news release, March 14, 2019

© Hitachi and RIKEN


RIKEN researchers prepare adhesive silk by tyrosinase-catalysed oxidation

Hiromitsu SUGAKAWA and colleagues at RIKEN Bioresources Research Center have treated an aqueous silk protein solution with tyrosinase, thereby converting tyrosine residues in silk to DOPA. Amino acid analysis by ninhydrin confirmed that the treated silk contained about 1 mol% of DOPA. The adhesiveness of this DOPA-containing silk protein was greatly improved, especially under basic conditions, probably by interaction between deprotonated lysine and DOPA, as with mussel adhesion protein. DOPA-silk also showed high adhesion to paper, polypropylene resin, wood and silk thin film.

RIKEN news release, March 11, 2019

チロシナーゼを用いるDOPA含有シルクの合成の図
© RIKEN, Japan


ToMMo publishs JG1, the “Japanese Reference Genome Sequence”

ToMMO, the Tohoku Medical MegaBank Organization, is focused on genomic medicine, which requires to accurately analyze the genome sequence of individuals based on differences to a “reference genomic sequence”. As the “international reference genome” was created based on genomes from European and African populations, ToMMo has now created its own reference genome JG 1 based on the genome sequences of 3 Japanese individuals. it is expected that this will improve the accuracy of analysis of individual variations within Japanese genomes. JG1 will be published on the Internet so that it can be widely used for research and clinical genome analysis.

AMED news release, February 25, 2019 T

MHLW approves two gene therapies in Japan

The two items approved were

  • Anges Co. HGF gene therapy for treatment of critical limb ischemia (AMG0001, beperminogene perplasmid)
  • Novartis CAR-T cell therapy Kymriah (Tisagenlecleucel) for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic B-cell leukemia

Nikkei Biotech news release, February 21, 2019

VIGO Medical Co. to test effect of pure oxygen supply with major Japanese football club

In a cooperative project with NEDO, the company will supply its Oxy’s® oxygen generator to Japan First League Oita Trinita players for a year and perform blood tests of athletes’ vital measurements (body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, mileage, number of sprints increase and decrease). By analyzing the results, the efficacy of high concentration oxygen such as blood flow promotion and fatigue recovery for top athletes will be investigated.

NEDO news release, February 19, 2019

© VIGO Medical Co.


Keio University team to start application of regenerative medicine for subacute spinal cord injury

Professor Ekuo OKANO of Keio University School of Medicine and colleagues have obtained MHLW approval for clinical studies on allogenic iPS cell-derived neural progenitor cells for the treatment of subacute stage spinal cord injury. They will now investigate the safety and effectiveness by increasing the number of transplanted cells in spinal cord injury in a chronic and a subacute phase. The initial clinical research will be done on 4 patients with 2 million transplanted cells and an observation period of 1 year.

Keio University news release, February 18, 2019

University team develops methane dry reforming catalyst for operation at 500 C

The team at Kochi University and Tokyo University of Technology succeeded to develop a Ni / Y 2 O 3 catalyst which allows to produce synthesis gas from methane and CO at below 600 C without coking. The catalyst is composed of Ni and Y2O3 which are topological intertwined in a nano phase separation structure. The “rooted” catalyst was stable for a period of 1000 hrs or more.

JST news release, February 15, 2019

© Japan Agency of Science and Technology JST

Tanabe Mitsubishi turns product development over to venture company

Mitsubishi Tanabe announced that phase I of its antibody-drug complex MT-8633 against solid cancer will be carried out by Open Innovation Partners, a Tokyo-based venture. It is believed that this move is meant to raise development speed.

Tanabe-Mitsubishi Pharma news release, February 14, 2019

Daiichi Sankyo to apply for approval of gene therapy for cancer treatment

The application for domestic manufacturing and marketing is based on a doctor-based interim analysis of 13 subjects (corresponding to phase II) with the oncolytic herpes simplex virus vector G47Δwhich showed a 92.3 % survival rate.

Nikkei Biotech news release, February 14, 2019

Dainippon Printing develops electronic tags for food products, improvement of supply chain management

Under a NEDO contract, Dainippon printing is testing RFID tags on food and drinking products. RFID readers installed on the pricing shelf automatically read the electronic tag to identify the product whose consumption date is approaching, to the effect that cash discount will be carried out when purchasing the product, and advertisement of this product is automatically transmitted to the product shelf. In addition, the electronic tag checks whether a correct garbage box is used by the consumer for the package.

NEDO news release, February 8, 2019


RIKEN team develops novel self-healing polymers

A team at RIKEN’s Center for Environmental Resources Science has developed a precise copolymerization of ethylene and anisylpropylenes by using a proprietary rare earth catalyst. The new polymer exhibits high elongation (2200%) and excellent self-repairing performance. It can be deployed as a shape memory material by temperature control and exhibits ashape recovery rate of 99%. No deterioration in function was observed even when repeatedly deformed.

RIKEN news release, February 7, 2019

© RIKEN, Japan


National Institute for Physiological Sciences (NIPS) successfully uses stem cells to grow mouse kidneys inside rats

The team of Teppei GOTO found that mouse stem cells efficiently differentiated inside rat blastocysts, forming the basic structures of a kidney. After being implanted into pseudo-pregnant rats, the complemented blastocysts matured into normal fetuses. Remarkably, more than two thirds of the resulting rat neonates contained a pair of kidneys derived from the mouse stem cells. Further screening showed that all of the kidneys were structurally intact, and at least half could potentially produce urine.

NIPS news release, February 6, 2019