The Healing Vector ID Pharma Co., Ltd. IP

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ID Pharma’s viral vector technology holds promise for iPS cells, critical limb ischemia—and more

ID Pharma Co., Ltd. stands at the forefront of gene therapy and regenerative medicine, with patented viral vector technology that holds promise for a range of treatments, from critical limb ischemia (drastically reduced blood flow to the extremities) to a preventive AIDS gene vaccine, both with clinical trials already underway.

One of the company’s scientists conducts a cell culture experiment.

ID Pharma traces its roots to DNAVEC Research Inc., a Japanese national project founded in 1995 to conduct gene therapy research. After a nine-year incubation period that yielded over 100 patent technologies, ID Pharma (then called DNAVEC Corporation) was separately established as a business venture to develop gene therapy and regenerative medicine building on DNAVEC Research Inc.’s legacy. Through strategic management of its intellectual property, ID Pharma has maintained numerous patent technologies and applications that now form the foundation of its business.

ID Pharma Co., Ltd.’s headquarters in Tsukuba, Japan.

Safe & Effective Viral Vector Technologies

ID Pharma’s core properties are the Sendai virus (SeV) vector and the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) vector—tools used to deliver genetic material into a patient’s cells for a variety of biological applications, including treatment of genetic diseases. As ID Pharma President Tsugumine Shu explains, “Depending on what we insert into the vector, we can engineer a range of products, such as the CytoTune™-iPS SeV vector cell reprogramming kit, gene therapy medicine and gene vaccines.”

Unlike many other viral vectors, which work by entering the target cell’s nucleus and integrating their genome into a chromosome—and thus run the risk of harmful mutations and other unwanted biological changes—the SeV vector is inserted and expressed in the cell cytoplasm. “When it comes to introducing genes into a patient via viral vector, the important factors are safety and efficacy,” Shu says. “The SeV vector is a safe, highly controlled, highly effective vector engineered through years of development to meet the demands of clinical applications.”

ID Pharma Co., Ltd. President Tsugumine Shu.

GMP Vector Production Facility

Now a subsidiary of I’rom Group Co., Ltd., a Japanese integrated healthcare company, ID Pharma is exploring advanced medical fields such as regenerative medicine, gene therapy, gene vaccination and cancer immunotherapy, looking to collaborate on research and development with companies, universities and research institutes with technologies capable of synergizing with its vector technology. Present projects include a gene therapeutic medicine for critical limb ischemia, currently in phase I/IIa of clinical trials in Australia, and a preventive AIDS gene vaccine, which just completed phase I—both of which are built on the SeV vector.

In 2016, ID Pharma constructed a GMP (good manufacturing practice) facility for formulating vectors for clinical trials and treatment, and a cell processing center (CPC) to further work in regenerative medicine. “These new facilities will allow us to work with partners or take on contract work and bring quality products to the clinical trial phase, and ultimately to hospitals and clinics, within the next five years,” Shu explains.

Inside the company’s newly constructed cell processing center; courtesy of ID Pharma Co., Ltd.

The company’s vector is pointed firmly forward.

Based on interview in January 2017