The UK Cell Therapy programme Catapult, which is focused on the development of the UK cell therapy industry to increase the nation’s health and wealth, has signed a patent licence agreement with iPS Academia Japan. It represents a pivotal step in the development of the UK’s GMP induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell bank.
Under the terms of the agreement with iPS Academia Japan, which is worldwide and non-exclusive, the Cell Therapy Catapult is able to create, sell and distribute iPS cell lines for research and clinical use (including its own). Any organisation undertaking clinical research or commercial use based on the cell lines will need an additional sub-licence, for which not-for-profit organisations, charities and universities will not be required to pay fees as far as their activities are for non-commercial purposes. Establishment of the cell bank was announced in 2013 with an initial investment of £2M. With iPS cells gaining in importance as a source of new therapies and the first products in clinical trials, the cell bank is of strategic importance to the UK cell therapy community.