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Drug Discovery Research

Technology enhancement for improving drug discovery ability or the probability of success in the clinical development stage is indispensable for the continual creation of excellent pharmaceutical products.

Among the wide range of technical foundations and general pharmaceutical expertise possessed by the Company, in the initial stage of research, the Company is working to apply leading-edge scientific technologies, including high-performance computer-assisted in silico methods and iPS cells, to drug discovery and regenerative medicine/cell therapy. The Company also proactively seeks external research collaboration with universities and other research institutions throughout the globe. Meanwhile, under the Partnership to Realize Innovative Seeds and Medicines (PRISM) framework, which is an open innovation program launched in FY2015 whereby research institutions and researchers in Japan are invited to submit ideas that meet the Company's drug discovery research needs.

In-silico drug discovery technology

Among the various application of computational methods, the Company focuses on the crucial points for the discovery of first-in class drugs by in-silico technology, including simulation and informatics. Speciffically, the tecnology enables the Company to understand mechanisms of specific diseases and to indentify drug targets and biomarkers through integration of massive and diverse data in chemistry, biology, diseases and drugs from in-house and public sources. Furthermore, the series of sophisticated in-silico techniques realize creating candidate drug molecules for specific targets on computer. These In-silico drug discovery reseaches acceralate the Company's shift from hypothesis-driven approach to data-driven approach in the discovery of first-in class drugs.

Drug Discovery Research

iPS drug discovery technology

iPS cells are a new type of stem cells first generated in 2006 by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka. These cells are established by introducing a set of specific factors into the cells derived from skin, blood, or other tissues. Human iPS cells have a potential to differentiate into various cell types that constitute human body, and are highly expected as a cell source in regenerative medicine and drug discovery.
By using iPS cells generated from patient's somatic cells, it is possible to recapitulate disease-related phenomena occurring in the patient body in a cell culture dish. Recently, a three-dimensional culture system such as organoid technology is making a great progress. This leads to the production of the organoids which more precisely incorporate features of human tissues and organs. The advance in iPS cell research will accelerate the identification of key disease mechanisms and the development of effective therapies.

 iPS drug discovery technology

The Company is conducting drug discovery research using iPS cells from patients with various diseases. For example, in a joint research project with the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, the Company succeeded in elucidating the mechanism by which bone is formed in muscle in patients with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) using iPS cells from FOP patients, and a new drug candidate substance for the disease was discovered.

PRISM, an open innovation program

Under the Partnership to Realize Innovative Seeds and Medicines (PRISM) framework, which is an open innovation program launched in FY2015, research institutions and researchers in Japan are invited to submit ideas that meet the Company's drug discovery research needs.