The CiRA Foundation was established in September 2019 as an offshoot of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, to serve as a bridge to industry by providing high-quality iPS cells for regenerative medicine. After certified as a public interest corporation by the Japanese Cabinet Office on April 1, 2020, we officially began our activities as a "public interest incorporated foundation".
As various projects have progressed, such as the "iPS Cell Stock Project", which stores and provides manufactured iPS cells, it has become important to strengthen cooperation with research institutions and companies and to consolidate and share information on research that will enhance our expertise. For this purpose, the CiRA Foundation was structured as an organization independent of Kyoto University.
The "Valley of Death" is often used to describe the situation where technologies and ideas developed at universities and other academic institutions do not successfully transfer to industry due to issues such as costs and facilities. Universities and research institutions usually do not have the flow in place to put their ideas and discoveries to practical use, which is why the Valley of Death has become an issue around the world.
In the U.S., a bridge over the Valley of Death is often made by venture companies and private companies making huge investments, but in Japan this infrastructure is not common. The CiRA Foundation is building a bridge for regenerative medicine by providing iPS cells, which require great cost and technology to manufacture, free of charge to non-profit institutions and at a low price to for-profit institutions.
We also provide advice and training on intellectual property and technologies and other cooperation for the practical application of iPS cells.