Sumitomo Pharma's DX Optimal Use of In-house Technology Acquired through Strategic Investment

Sumitomo Pharma has acquired in-house technologies , DrugOME and Digital Innovation, through strategic investments under the Medium-term Business Plan 2022, and is working to improve the efficiency and DX of the research and development of new drugs through the entire group, including its overseas subsidiaries, by utilizing these technologies.

Sumitomo Pharma’s In-house Technologies

Utilization of DrugOME

DrugOME is a system that leverages diverse data points to promptly deliver quality solutions to varying business issues. The DrugOME team consists of data scientists with advanced expertise in computational research and capabilities. The team communicates and works closely with broader business teams to solve for issues or drive capabilities. We are promoting the use of DrugOME in various situations in our value chain, such as evaluating the feasibility of development compounds using real-world data, optimizing development plan and clinical study designs, making clinical studies more efficient (selection of facilities and recruiting patients), and early acquisition of promising pipelines.

Drug OME

Promotion of Digital Innovation

Digital Innovation is a system for digitally resolving issues and improving operational efficiency in response to various challenges faced in the course of business activities. Dedicated engineers called Digital Innovators (DI) are assigned to each business department, listen directly to the needs within the company, and develop or offer new applications (apps) or automation solutions tailored to the business of that department. As a common platform is used at Group companies, the applications created by each DI can be shared among departments and Group companies. Through DX activities, including Digital Innovation, we will further strengthen the Group's overall digital capabilities and advance operational reforms.

Digital Inovation Promotion System

Optimal Use of In-house Technology in Drug Discovery

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.


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.

R&D in the Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Business

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.


Unique R&D Capabilities in Two Priority Disease Areas and Other Areas

With a focus on the Psychiatry & Neurology and Oncology disease areas, where unmet medical needs are high, the Sumitomo Pharma Group will make the utmost of the experience and knowledge that we have acquired so far to continue making active efforts for research and development of pharmaceuticals, regenerative medicine/cell therapy, non-pharmaceutical products, and otherwise. In other areas, too, we will tap into assets at hand and make steady R&D efforts to deliver solid value to patients.

●Sumitomo Pharma's research and development capabilities