First Commercial Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Plant Opens in Japan

The first commercial facility to produce induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) opened on March 22, 2018. The $340 million, 30,000 square foot facility was built by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and is designed to produce stem cells for therapeutic applications.1  Sumitomo Dainippon is currently involved in using iPSCs to create treatments for conditions including macular degeneration, Parkinson’s disease, retinitis pigmentosa, and spinal cord injuries. The plant’s function, initially, will be to produce stem cells for use in clinical trials and early-stage commercial production.2 The more than 30,000 square feet of floor space is divided in three autonomous zones, each producing different types of stem cells. The iPS cell lines come from those produced by Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA).1

The Sumitomo Dainippon Manufacturing Plant for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy is the only facility designed for commercial purposes that exists worldwide. Existing facilities, including the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and the UK Stem Cell Bank, have made stem cells available to researchers, but to date no facility has provided stem cells for commercial purposes. This demonstrates what Masayo Tada, the president of Sumitomo Dainippon, claims is an “overwhelming advantage in the market of medical and pharmaceutical products” that will help the company “occupy a definite position in the field of regenerative medicine.” Sumitomo Dainippon intends to make regenerative medicine one of its core business strategies, and has plans for significant market growth in the coming decade.1


  1. Daley, J. (2018, March 23). World’s first commercial iPSC cell plant opens in Japan. The Scientist. Retrieved from:
  2. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma. (2018, March 1). Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma completes manufacturing plant for regenerative medicine and cell therapy. IR News. Retrieved from:
  3. Photo: Immunocytochemistry of Kindey Tubular Epithelial Cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. By Ugnezija7, from Wikimedia Commons