Research & Development


In the course of research we have amassed a library of compounds that act on diverse targets, and have pursued our original path in drug discovery using the Compound-Orient approach that enables us to identify those compounds that are effective against disease or that support treatment.
This is our distinctive approach that identifies priority areas of drug discovery targets such as bioactive lipids and enzyme inhibitors, instead of targeting specific diseases. We believe that maximizing the potential of the well-amassed library of compounds would raise the likelihood of success in the discovery of breakthrough drugs. In the meantime we have successfully developed the anti-PD-1 antibody OPDIVO (nivolumab) generated through genomics research, which is the world’s first-in-class innovative anticancer drug in a target area completely new to us (biopharmaceuticals). The area of cancer therapy and supporting treatment has now become one of our key strategic areas, and we have newly organized a section called Oncology Research Laboratories. Leveraging cancer immunology technology and know-how accumulated through OPDIVO development, we vigorously work to produce novel drugs expanding our scope to cover new areas of potential drug targets and next-generation drugs including biopharmaceuticals.
Our prostaglandin related products developed so far are the successful results of our open innovation alliance with universities and research institutions at home and abroad. OPDIVO is also a success of open innovation with Kyoto University. Even before this term came into common use, we have long been driving drug discovery through the adoption of world-leading technologies and knowledge.
We have also established Orientem Innovation®, a new form of research network in industry-academia alliance, which we believe provides researchers at academia with new framework to find pharmaceutical uses more rapidly than before using new compounds identified by us at an earlier stage of research. We have launched three Orientem Innovation® projects so far, including the research alliance with Tohoku University and The University of Tokyo for new bioactive lipids. We will continue to drive similar initiatives into the future, both in Japan and overseas. Other activities of open innovation alliance for drug discovery include an agreement to provide The University of Tokyo’s Drug Discovery Initiative (former Open Innovation Center for Drug Discovery) with our original compound library and participation as a founding member of an organization, called GPCR Consortium, aimed at promoting structural analysis of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) through collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and overseas academia.
Our drug discovery research efforts will be directed to promote discovery and development of innovative pharmaceuticals in areas with unmet medical needs and innovative anticancer drugs by maximizing the industry-academia open innovation strategy and accelerating collaboration with leading research institutions at home and abroad.