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Japan eyes exporting regenerative medicine tech. to Qatar, S.Arabia

TOKYO, July 12 (KUNA) -- The Japanese government plans to assist private-sector companies in exporting as early as 2015 regenerative medicine technology and related equipment to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, a major business daily here reported Friday.
Exporting regenerative medicine involves licensing treatments to local medical institutions and selling cell-derived products, as well as equipment for culturing cells and other devices. With substantial numbers of upper-class households in those countries, demand is expected to grow, the Nikkei Shimbun said. As a first step, the government will promote Terumo Corp.'s technology to grow heart muscles, the newspaper said, adding that exports will be handled by Medical Excellence Japan, a three-way partnership formed in April by industry, government and academia.
Terumo has been conducting clinical trials since last year for the treatment, which involves taking cells from a patient, culturing them outside the body, then processing the cells into sheets and applying them to the surface of the heart muscle.
Separately, the government aims to pass this fall bills shortening the screening period for regenerative medicine products. It will also negotiate with overseas authorities to simplify local approval processes for products already cleared in Japan.
Japan has a trade deficit of almost JPY 2 trillion (USD 20 billion) in the medical field, a trend Prime Minister Shinzo Abe aims to reverse by supporting exports.
The government hopes to leverage Japan's advanced technologies in regenerative medicine to tap overseas demand, the report said.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry estimates that the global market for regenerative medicine will grow from JPY 340 billion (USD 3.4 billion) in 2012 to JPY 53 trillion (USD 530 billion) by 2050. (end) mk.rk KUNA 121017 Jul 13NNNN