Kusatsu/Shiga, Japan — April 26, 2019 – Takara Bio Inc. (Takara Bio) announces that it has entered into a worldwide license agreement with University Health Network in Canada*~{1}  as of April 23, 2019, under which Takara Bio exclusively uses the patent technology relating to a new generation of CAR (Chimeric antigen receptor)*~{2} gene therapy. Takara Bio will develop the novel CAR gene therapy by leveraging the licensed technology, in cooperation with a group led by the patent inventor, Dr. Naoto Hirano, Associate Director for Research, Tumor Immunotherapy Program, Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre / Professor of Medicine, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario, Canada).


  In CAR gene therapy using CAR introduced T cells (immune cells), the structure of CAR largely affects the therapeutic efficacy. The licensed technology covers the novel CAR construct which incorporates a functional domain to activate JAK/STAT signaling pathway*~{3} , known to be a key pathway for T cell survival. The collaborative research by Dr. Hirano’s group and Takara Bio has demonstrated that immune cells introduced with the novel CAR showed higher proliferative capacity and prolonged survival, resulting in superior anti-tumor effects compared to prototypic CARs**.


  Takara Bio and Dr. Hirano’s group will fully engage in a series of studies to evaluate the efficacy and safety of our novel CAR gene therapy, leading to clinical application.


  Takara Bio is striving to address the unmet medical needs through developing and commercializing cancer immuno-gene therapies such as CAR gene therapy.


** (Reference) Published in Nature Medicine (2018) 24:352-359.

Applicable patent technology obtained

Title of invention

Chimeric antigen receptor comprising a cytoplasmic domain of an interleukin receptor chain

Application number


Mentioned only for US application

【Reference Drawing】


1. University Health Network

Entity organized by medical institutions in district of Toronto city, Canada (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto General Hospital, etc.), managing intellectual properties including patent, etc. in addition to practicing medicine, research and education, etc.


2. CAR gene therapy, CAR (Chimeric Antigen Receptor)

CAR gene is artificially constructed by combining a fraction of antibodies that specifically recognize cancer antigens, and cytoplasmic domain(s) required for lymphocyte activation. The genetically engineered CAR T-lymphocytes can attack malignant cells by recognizing the cancer antigens on their cell surface.


3. JAK/STAT signaling pathway

A system to communicate the signal relating to cell proliferation and hematopoiesis. Tyrosine kinase called JAK (protein) and transcription factor called STAT (gene regulation-related protein) play important roles in this pathway.