British regenerative medicine company Cell Therapy (CTL) has granted the Japanese licence for Heartcel, the company's latest cardiac regeneration medicine, to Daiichi Sankyo.
Heartcel comprises immuno-modulatory progenitor (iMP) cells, a cardiac-specific cellular medicine.
On receiving the licence, the Japanese pharmaceutical company will be responsible for undertaking all regulatory, development and commercial activities for iMP cells within Japan.
However, Cell Therapy will retain all its global rights and manufacturing responsibilities outside of Japan.
Under the deal, Cell Therapy is to receive £12.5m as upfront licensing fee and additional milestone payments and royalties.
Cell Therapy chief executive officer Ajan Reginald said: "After a competitive process, we are delighted to partner with Daiichi Sankyo in Japan.
"The accelerated regulatory pathway for regenerative medicines in Japan enables faster patient access, making it a natural priority for us.
"This allows CTL to focus on the US and European Phase III trials and accelerating the development of our pre-clinical pipeline."
The Phase III trials for Heartcel are expected to commence later this year.
Nobel Laureate and Cell Therapy chief scientific officer Martin Evans said: "CTL's in-house technology focusses on the discovery of novel tissue-specific cellular medicines.
"We are delighted that Daiichi Sankyo shares our belief in iMP cells' potential in heart regeneration. This partnership is a validation of Cell Therapy's novel approach and discovery technology."
iMP cells function as an advanced therapeutic medicinal product (ATMP) and investigational allogeneic regenerative medicine.