October 1, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Stem cell pioneer Masayo Takahashi (高橋 政代) leaves RIKEN

In a surprise, Dr. Masayo Takahashi has announced that she has left RIKEN.

Takahashi indicates she will be new President of a company called Vision Care, Inc. as part of the Kobe Eye Center. I’ve pasted a picture of Takahashi’s Tweet with translation more toward the bottom of the post.

A big thanks to Piero Carninci, a biologist at RIKEN, for the heads up on this news. I’m sure they are very sad to see her go, but wish her the best!

Here is the beginning of Carninci’s thread with his first tweet on this below.

Here is the link to the company.

Masayo Takahashi
Masayo Takahashi Tweet in regard to moving to a biotech Vision Care.

Asahi has some coverage of the move here. Here’s another media piece as well.

Below are some quotes from Carninci’s translation of a PDF on the Vision Care company website about the news:

“She first resigned as project leader to focus on management of VisionCare. But she will remain visiting scientist at RIKEN; although she will continue to have a visiting position at RIKEN, she will focus on eye therapies. In RIKEN she has experience on transfer cells to patients.”

and

“To fully succeed in clinical trials, RIKEN is not an option and leaving for a new company, VisionCare, was the only option to go to clinical trials and fully impact the patients.”

and

“Helios is now a mesenchymal stem cell therapeutic companies (totally different vision after leading scientist, Masayo Takahashi, had to quit). Scientific level and direction made impossible to collaborate further for retina therapy. Clearly the VisionCare company is needed.”

Takahashi has done pioneering work on using IPS cells as a basis for treating macular degeneration. She has won numerous awards including Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize and right here The Niche’s Stem Cell Person of the Year Award. I see her as one of the top stem cell scientists in the world.

Hopefully this move will accelerate the clinical steps forward for her very exciting work.

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