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OSAKA (Kyodo) Kyoto University and U.S. biotechnology venture iZumi Bio Inc. said Tuesday they have decided to cooperate in research, development and application of induced pluripotent stem cells, which have the potential to grow into any type of body tissue, with the goal of using them in cell-based therapies.

The move comes after San Francisco-based iZumi Bio in February purchased a set of patents on producing iPS cells from German chemical giant Bayer A.G., which applied for a patent for a technique to generate iPS cells in Japan in June 2007. Bayer’s application was filed several months before Kyoto University announced it had successfully generated iPS cells from human cells.

Under the deal, Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application and iZumi Bio will exchange part of their representative human iPS cell lines derived using various methods.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with iZumi Bio . . . on the basic research to help advance this important technology,” said Shinya Yamanaka, a professor at the university and director of the center. “I expect that this collaboration will contribute to establishing an evaluation method for selecting safe iPS cell lines and accelerating the development of iPS cell technology globally.”

The two organizations will separately conduct comparison and characterization studies on iPS cells but will share their results “to determine which methods produce the most appropriate iPS cell lines for drug screening and development, and those most suitable for cell-based therapy.”

The partnership “is a critical step in furthering this research and turning stem cell research into therapeutic realities sooner,” said Al Gore, former U.S. vice president and a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, a U.S. venture capital firm that supports iZumi Bio.

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