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Hitachi Chemical to buy regenerative-medicine company

Materials maker plans cell manufacturing in Japan, US

TOKYO -- Hitachi Chemical will purchase U.S. company PCT, a leader in regenerative medicine, the materials maker said Friday.

The Japanese company already owns a 19.9% equity interest in PCT and will obtain the remaining 80.1% from parent Caladrius Biosciences for $76 million, making it a wholly owned subsidiary in May. PCT's consolidated sales totaled $26 million for the year ended in December 2015, but the New Jersey-based company recorded a consolidated operating loss of $1.6 million.

Hitachi Chemical invested in PCT in March 2016 to obtain know-how on cell manufacturing for regenerative medicine. The company plans to begin production of such cells, used in treatments for cancer and other diseases, in 2018 at a new Yokohama facility with an eye on international expansion.

Using PCT as its American base, Hitachi Chemical plans to manufacture cells for regenerative medicine in both Japan and the U.S. PCT has two manufacturing bases in the U.S.

Hitachi Chemical intends to use research facilities and information technology equipment at other Hitachi group members to produce high-quality cells at low cost. The company also aims to develop materials such as containers and chemical reagents.

Semiconductor materials are Hitachi Chemical's mainstay, but the company has enhanced its focus on life sciences in recent years. In the latter half of 2016, Hitachi Chemical competed unsuccessfully against Fujifilm Holdings to acquire Takeda Pharmaceutical subsidiary Wako Pure Chemical Industries, whose chemical reagent products are used in regenerative medicine.

(Nikkei)

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