Research Focus Areas
The Group remains committed to research and development by taking every available opportunity to assimilate cutting-edge technologies through combinations of a wide variety of avenues, including in-house research, technology in-licensing, and joint research with biotech companies and academia. The aim is continuous discoveries of excellent pharmaceutical products in the focus areas; Psychiatry & Neurology, Oncology, and Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy. In a bid to contribute to global health, the Group is also working on the Infectious Diseases area. Furthermore, with the aim of providing new solutions to social issues in healthcare areas other than pharmaceuticals, we are working toward launching frontier businesses.
Psychiatry and Neurology
We are promoting competitive drug discovery research based on our proprietary drug discovery platforms established by continuously incorporating cutting-edge technologies. For psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, and psychiatric symptoms related to neurological disorders, we aim to create innovative therapeutic agents that meet unmet medical needs through drug discovery based on neural circuit pathology, whereas for neurological disorders, including dementia, Parkinson's disease, and rare diseases, we seek to develop drugs for radical treatments of neurodegenerative diseases and other indications through drug discovery based on molecular pathological mechanisms. Every effort is being made to raise the success rate of research and development by applying the wealth of knowledge gained from clinical data of our products and development candidates, to translational research and by selecting appropriate drug discovery targets and biomarkers through the use of big data, such as genome information, brain waves, and imaging data.
In FY2017, we introduced a new Research Project System, under which researchers who have devised project themes take the lead in their projects up to the initial clinical development stage as a general rule. In FY2021, the System yielded appreciable results, including the advancement of two products into clinical studies and many candidate drugs into the preclinical phase. Going forward, we will make the most of this System to push ahead with research and development.
In the development stages, the Company is working closely with its U.S. subsidiaries under the global clinical development framework to expedite the receipt of approvals from regulatory authorities by efficiently promoting clinical development according to strategic development planning.
The Group has created multiple distinctive development pipelines as we gained a diverse array of knowledge to fortify drug discovery through our research and development efforts thus far. We leverage these unique pipelines to continue focusing on research and development of drugs in the Oncology area, where unmet medical needs are high.
For drug discovery, we aim to create innovative new drugs as we enhance our competitive edge by exploring new modalities with our proprietary technologies and conducting joint research with universities and research institutions.
In the development stage, we seek to improve the success rate and obtain early approval for several products in our development pipeline that are under initial clinical evaluations by, for example, carefully assessing data in short-term, small-scale studies to identify cancer types optimally treated by them and determine the value of such products.
Regenerative medicine / Cell therapy
We are promoting multiple research and development projects with a view toward early commercializing of our pipeline assets by developing a unique growth model wherein we pursue advanced industrialization/manufacturing technologies and state-of-the-art science through open innovation strategy. While steadily advancing projects in the Neurology and Ophthalmology areas, we are setting our sights on global opportunities in Japan, the U.S., and other Asian countries, plotting a trajectory for the development of next-generation regenerative medicine, including organ regeneration. Our current target is to have these projects start contributing to earnings mainly in Japan and the U.S. during the period of the Next Mid-term Business Plan (FY2023-2027).
In a bid to contribute to global health and precautions against future pandemics by way of, for example, promoting joint research for the treatment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), malaria vaccines, and a universal influenza vaccine, we will remain committed to ongoing research and development projects, which we hope to commercialize during the period of the Next Mid-term Business Plan (FY2023-2027).
Drug discovery to treat AMR
The Company is promoting joint drug discovery research with Kitasato Institute to treat AMR covered by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED)'s CiCLE (Cyclic Innovation for Clinical Empowerment).
Drug discovery of adjuvanted vaccines
The Company is implementing drug discovery of adjuvanted vaccines by combining TLR7 agonist adjuvant, our foundation technology, with promising antigens from outside. We are working on a malaria vaccine with Ehime University, etc. and a universal influenza vaccination with the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, etc.
The Group is moving forward with the development of value-oriented, best-in-class pharmaceutical products, in a bid to sustain the Group's business growth after the expiration of the exclusive marketing period of LATUDA® in the U.S.
In a bid to create synergies with our pharmaceuticals business, we will focus on the areas of mental resilience (preventing deterioration of neuropsychiatric disorders by detecting the signs at an early stage) and active aging (improving, maintaining, and enhancing the health of the elderly from their state of mind). By developing our business foundations, which include core technologies (information, engineering, or otherwise) and networks (alliances, venture capital investment, etc.), we are planning to establish these emerging areas as our future growth engines during the period of the Next Mid-term Business Plan (FY2023-2027).
・Frontier Business Site https://fbo-sumitomo-pharma.com