Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine

About us

At the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine (AIRM), we are investigating novel pluripotent stem cell-derived therapeutic products that have the potential to rejuvenate, regenerate and replace damaged tissues. Our goal is to develop “off-the-shelf” cell-based therapies that can be used in any patient. Our lead program is in the ocular space, with a developmental pipeline encompassing innovative therapies that can be used in many other therapeutic areas, including cancer, autoimmune conditions and vascular diseases. Our new 262,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility allows us to combine both our research and manufacturing capabilities in the same complex, giving us the means to develop new treatments while scaling manufacturing for future commercialization needs.

Our Approach

In creating cell therapy products, AIRM focuses on advancing solutions for which our scientists have translated cell engineering technologies into therapeutics and connecting them to diseases where we can address significant unmet needs of patients.

In the area of ocular diseases, we are applying cell therapy to potentially treat back-of-the-eye diseases in patients who are at high risk of going blind. This new therapeutic approach offers hope for patients whose diseases cannot be adequately treated with existing therapeutic approaches. Among the ocular diseases we are pursuing are acute macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa.

Another key area of focus for us is innovative cell therapies for cancer. For example, we are developing CAR-NK and CAR-T cell therapies, which are changing the treatment landscape for cancer by training the body’s immune-system to help kill cancer cells. Allogeneic CAR cell therapies, which, if successful, could offer unprecedented potential for treating many types of cancers. However, this approach is not without its challenges. These “immuno-oncology” based CAR cell therapies require a suite of advanced technologies to design and manufacture them with properties of safety, tumor targeting, and cytotoxic activity, as well as the ability to be engineered for off-the-shelf production with an efficient manufacturing process. With the multiple advanced technologies and the collaboration of our cell therapy teams at Astellas, are developing novel treatment options for patients with various type of tumors.

Following these two leading areas and based on our solid scientific and technological expertise, we are expanding our target therapeutic areas, to include autoimmune and vascular-related diseases. AIRM is continuously striving to deliver value to patients who are suffering from incurable diseases.

For more information, please click Blindness & Regeneration and Immuno-Oncology. Or learn how you can partner with us in Cell Therapy here.

Status of Cell Therapy Platform Utilization in each PF


Masahide Goto, Ph.D.


Masahide Goto, Ph.D.

Dr. Masahide Goto is President of the Astellas Institute for Regenerative Medicine (AIRM). He has 30 years’ experience as a researcher in molecular biology and as a leader for research teams across a wide variety of therapeutic areas, including metabolic and infectious disease, antibodies, nucleic acid medicine and gene therapy-related activities, ophthalmology, and otology.

Dr. Goto joined Astellas as a researcher in molecular medicine in 1997 for Astellas predecessor Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. His prior roles at the company include Senior Director, Biologics, Modality Research Laboratory; Executive Director, Candidate Discovery Research Unit 3, Candidate Discovery Science Laboratory; and Executive Director, Eye & Ear Virtual Venture Unit.

Dr. Goto holds a Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and is the author of nearly 20 scientific papers.



Bertera et al.  Human hemangioblast-derived mesenchymal stem cells promote islet engraftment in a minimal islet mass transplantation model in mice. Frontiers in Medicine, 8: 660877 (2021).

Kimbrel and R. Lanza.  Next Generation Stem Cells – Ushering in a New Era of Cell-Based Therapies. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 19(7):  463-479 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41573-020-0064-x. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

Barnea-Cramer et al, Function of human pluripotent stem cell-derived photoreceptor progenitors in blind mice. Nature Scientific Reports 2016 Jul13;6:29784. doi: 10.1038/srep29784

Ferrer et al, Treatment of perianal fistulas with human embryonic stem cell derived MSCs: a canine model of human fistulizing Crohn’s disease. Regenerative Medicine 2016 Jan;11(1):33-43. doi: 10.2217/rme.15.69

McCabe et al. Efficient Generation of Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Corneal Endothelial Cells by Directed Differentiation, PLoS One 10(12):e0145266 (2015). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145266.

Kimbrel, E.A., and Lanza, R. Current Status of Pluripotent Stem Cells: Moving the First Therapies to the Clinic.  NATURE REVIEWS Drug Discovery 14(10):681-692, 2015. doi: 10.1038/nrd4738

Schwartz, S.D., et al. Human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelium in patients with age-related macular degeneration and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy: follow-up of two open-label phase 1/2 studies. The Lancet 385: 509-516, 2015.

Kimbrel, E.A., et al.  Mesenchymal stem cell population derived from human pluripotent stem cells displays potent immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties. Stem Cells and Development, 23(14):1611-1624, 2014. doi: 10.1089/scd.2013.0554.

Lu, B., et al. Long-term Safety and Function of RPE from Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Preclinical Models of Macular Degeneration.  Stem Cells, 27(9):2125-2135, 2009

Agarwal, S., et al.  Efficient differentiation of functional hepatocytes from human embryonic stem cells.  Stem Cells  26: 1117-1127, 2008. doi:10.1634/stemcells.2007-1102

Klimanskaya, I., et al. Human embryonic stem cell lines derived from single blastomeres. Nature, 444:481-485, 2006.

Klimanskaya, I., et al. Derivation and comparative assessment of retinal pigment epithelium from human embryonic stem cells using transcriptomics. Cloning and Stem Cells, 6(3): 217-245, 2004.

*AIRM previously known as Ocata Therapeutics and Advanced Cell Technology


Career & Contact