Kaneka Acquires a Patent for Large Scale Culturing Pluripotent Stem Cells in Japan

Kaneka Corporation
March 12, 2018

Kaneka Corporation (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Mamoru Kadokura) has acquired a patent in Japan (Patent No. 6238265) for the invention of “a method to mass-culture pluripotent stem cells including iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) and ES cells (embryonic stem cells)”*1. The technology was jointly developed with Professor Yasuyuki Sakai of the University of Tokyo (Bunkyō-ku, Tokyo) and applied for a patent.

Since the technology in the filed patent was considered to have a major social impact, the company appealed the Super Accelerated Examination*2 in Japan on filing the international application, (International Application No. PCT/JP2016/052128, International Publication No. WO 2016121737, International Filing Date: January 26, 2016), and the patent was granted quickly.

The patented invention enables to control cell aggregates to a moderate size by adding lysophospholipid*3 when pluripotent stem cells such as human iPS cells are proliferating in suspension culture, allowing to cultivate more than a billion stem cells efficiently at low cost for the first time in the world.

The right of the patent covers the method of cultivation and all the cells produced by the cultivation method thereof. Other than in Japan, the patent application has been filed in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Researchers and companies in the relevant area are very interested in this mass-cultivation technology. We will continue with further efforts in the technology to mass-produce high-quality pluripotent stem cells,which will help accelerate the social implementation of regenerative medicine and cell therapy.

  1. The method to regulate cell aggregates to a uniform and moderate size by culturing pluripotent stem cells while letting them float in a liquid culture that contains lysophospholipid, and mass-produce pluripotent stem cells that maintain the ability to differentiate into multiple diverse cell types. (News release on March 14, 2017 (in Japanese) http://www.kaneka.co.jp/service/news/n20170314/)
    Conference presentation: ISSCR Annual Meeting 2017 (June 2017, Boston, USA), Regenerative Medicine Japan 2017 (October 2017, Yokohama), the 37th Japanese Association for Animal Cell Technology Symposium (October 2017, Tokyo), The 2018 World Stem Cell Summit (January 2018, Miami, USA)
  2. A patent is granted within a month at the shortest after filing when Super Accelerated Examination is applied, while it takes from one to two years in the usual application process.
  3. A phospholipid that has only one fatty acid tail.