News story

Tokyo Electron opens research centre in UK

Japanese company launches open innovation centre at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) to develop Smart Cell Processing Technologies.

Stem cells under the microscope
Stem cells under the microscope

Japanese company Tokyo Electron Ltd (TEL) will work jointly with partners from academia and industry with plans to develop standardised Smart Cell Processing Technologies for cell culture and inspection through open innovation.

TEL has unique experience of automation and quality management frameworks from decades of innovation and development in the semiconductor industry. It’s well placed to lead on the transfer of these techniques into life sciences.

George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences said:

We welcome Tokyo Electron’s initiative to the UK. We believe that the UK is a global leader in the standardisation of cell culture and has made a major contribution to principal advances in cell therapy.

The UK has a clear strategy on Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy and has injected significant investment to drive implementation. In addition, we believe that we have developed a strict but permissive legislative and regulatory framework that is helping innovation to flourish.

Tokyo Electron’s project is synergistic with the UK’s strategies and we recognise the potential benefits that this venture can bring to healthcare.

Mr. Yoshio Kinoshita, project leader and Director of TEL commented:

Our long term goal is to evolve smart cell processing technologies to a fully-automated smart cell factory that can economically and safely produce standardised clinical grade iPS/ES cells and iPS/ES cell-derived cell products.

We realise from our experience of the semiconductor industry that this is best achieved in an open innovation environment, and therefore it was natural to locate the Stem Cell Technology Centre (STC) at SBC.

The UK government and Industry is committed to the fostering growth of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy and the UKTI Life Sciences Organisation (LSO) has supported the development of the rationale for the venture.

Bob Honda, Director of STC and Tokyo Electron Europe Ltd (TEE) said:

We are overwhelmed by all the support and guidance we have received from various UK organisations and researchers to establish the STC. With its reputation for high quality scientific research and growing cell therapy industry, the UK is the ideal place for us to site our exciting new initiative.

The success of the STC will benefit the UK’s aspirations to build on its outstanding science and biomedical capabilities and to be at the forefront of the application for Regenerative Medicine, for the benefits of patients and the economy.

Dr Mark Treherne, Chief Executive of UKTI’s LSO said:

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Tokyo Electron and are enthusiastic about supporting them in the long term alongside future collaborative partners.

Tokyo Electron’s concept and road map, including the open platform elements, can be enabled in the UK and we are committed to supporting them identify and facilitate relationships with collaborative partners.

In addition, engagement with leading academic teams in the UK can also be catalysed through existing public sector funding streams, which are designed to promote competitive public-private partnerships. We now look forward to mobilising our resources to support Tokyo Electron’s future international plans, from their base in Stevenage.

UKTI Life Sciences Organisation

1 Victoria Street

Published 6 October 2014