A message from the chairman

Ken-ichiro Hata, Representative Director, Chairman

First of all I would like to introduce myself, I’m Ken-ichiro Hata. I have recently been designated the Chairman during the 2019 General Meeting and at this year’s second conference of Board of Directors, and I would just like to say a few words.

□What regenerative medicine provides us with.
“Regenerative medicine” is medicine that positively utilizes physical cells to help tissues and organs restore their natural functions which have been lost, whether it be through dysfunction or malfunction. Our country, in spite of having previously been producing numerous excellent results in pure research, used to be regarded as one which still has many challenges which it needs to overcome before generating practical application. In 2012, Dr. Yamanaka of Kyoto University and his colleagues were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their research in iPS cells, which displayed their high-level research results in this particular field to not only people in Japan but people abroad. This has made not only researchers but also the general population more aware of regenerative medicine.
As of June 2019, our country has approved the manufacturing and sales of seven regenerative-medicine-related products. These products primarily utilize living cells, which in turn makes them totally unique and different from other conventional drugs and medical devices, whilst advocating new treatment methods to patients. Whilst it has also become clear that those regenerative-medicine-related products are now having to overcome new challenges which concern the establishment of a business model, including provision methods and treatment costs. It is imperative that we appropriately solve these problems in order to industrialize regenerative medicine in the future.

□What the Forum for Innovative Regenerative Medicine (FIRM) offers to regenerative medicine.
FIRM started in 2011, as a gathering place for corporations aiming to industrialize regenerative medicine with 14 initial corporations. Currently, it boasts over 250 corporations. The diversity of member corporations characterizes FIRM. In other words, it consists of not only corporations who are manufacturing and selling regenerative-medicine-related products, but also those that are handling machinery, devices and a variety of materials necessary for cell culture, and even those corporations who are engaging in the business of industrializing regenerative medicine in the future. As I mentioned before, the challenges which we now face regarding the practical application of regenerative medicine, lies not only in the mere manufacturing of the products but also in how to establish the industrial network centering around regenerative medicine and to bring forth a new medical culture. In an attempt to save patients who are suffering from intractable diseases, whilst at the same time trying to establish a new medical industry, we intend to create new values by integrating the experience accumulated by diverse corporations.
FIRM should be, we earnestly hope, a place where member corporations can amass their technologies for the purpose of corporealizing regenerative medicine.

To bring forth a new “joy” through regenerative medicine. That is my desire.