R&DR&D using AI and Big Data
In Silico Drug Discovery Technology
R&D using In Silico Drug Discovery Technology
In silico drug discovery is the creation of drugs in a computer using computational science, and we are focusing on research that forms the core of first in class drug discovery. Specifically, our research focuses on the search for effective drug targets or mechanisms for specific diseases by harnessing the power of informatics technology to comprehensively analyze large amounts of chemical, biological, and medical data from both inside and outside the company and the creation of drug candidate molecules for target proteins using molecular simulation. We are actively promoting the shift from conventional hypothesis-verification drug discovery research to data-driven drug discovery research that handles data as it is.
Psychiatry & Neurology
R&D in the Psychiatry & Neurology Area
The pathophysiology of psychiatric & neurological disorders is still poorly understood and this is considered a difficult area for drug development. Sumitomo Pharma is engaged in computer-aided, data-driven drug discovery research and development using in silico drug discovery technology, based on the acquisition of a variety of patient information. Specifically, based on big data such as genomic information and brain checkup data, we are searching for drug seeds such as appropriate target molecules and identifying biomarkers that can be used in both clinical and non-clinical settings to improve the probability of success in research and development. Further, we have established our own system using artificial intelligence (AI) for predicting the pharmacokinetics and safety of compounds, and by combining this system with simulation-based prediction of pharmacological activity, we are efficiently generating promising compounds.
We also actively promote external alliances. For example, we have launched clinical studies of multiple drug candidate compounds generated using AI technology in collaboration with various partners.
R&D in the Oncology Area
Cancer is a disease with high unmet medical needs despite well-studied pathogenic mechanisms and causative biomolecules. To bridge this gap between basic and clinical research, it is important to utilize data obtained from basic research and patient data to find target molecules that are truly effective in treatment and biomarkers that identify patients who will benefit from therapeutic agents. It is from this perspective that we are working on data-driven drug discovery in the oncology area as well as in the psychiatry & neurology area.
Using DrugOME, our proprietary healthcare technology platform, we are searching for drug candidate substances and target protein candidates through comprehensive analysis of the literature and database information and trend prediction using natural language processing technology. Based on the findings, we have initiated several new drug discovery projects so far.
In addition to the above, we are also actively working on the use of digital technology to improve the productivity of our R&D activities.
Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy
R&D in the Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Field
We are working on the practical application of cells derived from allogenic iPS cells that are currently undergoing investigator-initiated study at Kyoto University Hospital, in collaboration with the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University. In contrast to pharmaceuticals, the instrumental analysis of which is possible, the greatest challenge for regenerative medicine products manufactured by inducing differentiation from iPS cells is to understand the characteristics of living cells. Therefore, technology that appropriately captures variations in the properties of individual cells to ensure quality is needed. In collaboration with the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, we analyzed the gene expression of each individual cell in each production lot using digital technology, and confirmed that the quality was stable using statistical indicators, demonstrating the validity of repeat production (Doi, D. et al. Nature Communications 11; 3369 (2020)). Utilizing the results of this research, cells manufactured in our Manufacturing Plant for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy (SMaRT) are currently being transplanted in investigator-initiated study.
R&D Capabilities in the areas of Psychiatry & Neurology, Oncology, and Regenerative Medicine/Cell Medicine
An introduction to Sumitomo Pharma's efforts in three focus research areas: Psychiatry & Neurology, Oncology, and Regenerative Medicine/Cell Medicine
●Sumitomo Pharma's research and development capabilities
Domestic Sales and MarketingUtilization of Digital Technology and Promotion of DX in Sales and Marketing in Japan
In domestic sales activities, we are accelerating data-driven DX while introducing digital technologies such as AI and virtual reality (VR) into traditional information provision by medical representatives (MRs).
We aim to establish a new sales style as we take advantage of a variety of digital technologies. Actual examples are building a product demand prediction model using AI, conducting advanced analysis and simulation of data gained from sales and marketing activities, and developing desk work automation tools for MRs by using the latest programming technology.
Sumitomo Pharma Online MR
Information Provision Activities by Online Dedicated MRs
Using an online conference system, "Sumitomo Pharma Online MR," a full-time online MR, interacts directly with doctors and provides information. By making an appointment through the chatbot on our website for healthcare professionals, healthcare professionals have access to consultations regardless of time and place. On the day of the consultation, experienced personnel who are qualified MRs and have received specialized training in their respective areas are available.
As changes in the environment occur, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, we respond flexibly to the needs of healthcare professionals through the combined use of traditional visits and MR activities using digital technology.
On our website for healthcare professionals, three "vMR®" original characters explain about our products and related disease information. vMRs, which allow for detailed settings for age, personality, hobbies, etc., provide information in an easy-to-understand manner, with facial expressions and movements that give the impression that an actual MR with human warmth is speaking. Voice recording and motion capture of vMR characters are also done at the "Media Studio" at the Tokyo head office for the in-house production of content.
Utilization of XR (Extended Reality: a General Term for Virtual Space Technologies Including VR and Augmented Reality (AR))
To further facilitate communication between MRs and healthcare professionals and deal with restrictions on visits at medical institutions due to COVID-19, we have launched initiatives with KDDI CORPORATION to develop a communication platform using XR. Under these initiatives, we aim to produce XR 3D video content of pharmaceutical information that can be accessed with smart glasses, and create virtual communication spaces.
Further, in March 2021, "medical XR -- Medical Care Made Possible by the Latest Technology --" was released on our website for healthcare professionals. Going forward, we will continue to introduce the latest cases and papers on XR used in the medical field, as well as the features of each technology, to contribute to making medicine and XR more valuable to both patients and healthcare professionals.
New Information Provision Activities using Virtual Reality (VR)
In addition to treatments with pharmaceuticals, we are working on new ways to support patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, including web content to support rehabilitation, mobile apps, and VR content. We are currently deploying activities by MRs using VR for the provision of information of Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies.
We have also started to provide information using VR content to help patients and caregivers understand their medical conditions and communicate smoothly with healthcare professionals based on a common understanding.