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Daiichi Sankyo latest in Japan to tap iPS cells

Bioventure partner targets heart disease; Megakaryon offers platelets for transfusions

TOKYO -- Japanese companies are joining the search for ways to commercialize induced pluripotent stem cells, spurred in part by recent legislation designed to fast-track such forms of regenerative medicine.

One new entrant is Daiichi Sankyo, which announced Monday that it will seek to commercialize sheets of heart muscle tissue derived from iPS cells as a treatment for heart disease. The pharmaceutical company is investing an undisclosed amount in the Osaka University spin-off Cuorips, which developed the sheets of myocardial cells. The idea is to grow the sheets and graft them onto the heart to help it beat properly. This would give patients with severe heart failure an alternative to a transplant or an artificial heart.

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