Research & Development

Research, Development, Corporate Development and Strategy
Our Drug Discovery Research

ONO’s approach – Areas of research

We have pursued our original path in drug discovery using the “Compound-Orient” approach to developing novel drugs by collecting a library of compounds that may act on various therapeutic targets such as lipids and enzymes, and, through screening the library, identifying new drug candidates that would lead to treatments against disease. Utilizing this unique approach as the foundation, we now focus our resources on the research and development of drugs for cancer, auto-immune disease and neurological disease. We have specified these areas that have high medical needs as our priority areas of research and development.

In addition to drug discovery research with small molecular compounds and antibodies which we have focused upon and will continue to enhance, we will also focus on novel technologies including cell therapies and macrocyclic compounds, to keep tackling the challenge of developing breakthrough drugs.

Open Innovation

ONO has been driving drug discovery research using world-leading technology and knowledge in various areas long before the words “open innovation” started to become widely used.
In order to pursue more vigorously the discovery of breakthrough drugs through our open innovation effort, ONO is driving research collaborations with universities, research institutions and biopharmaceutical companies, posting employees with extensive experience in discovery research to our overseas subsidiaries in the U.S.A. and UK for the long haul, and ONO’s scientists posted to collaborative research laboratories are working on challenging research programs.
In FY2017, we vigorously formed drug discovery alliances with biopharmaceutical companies with proprietary technology. We have initiated a drug discovery collaboration with Neurimmune AG (Switzerland), focusing on the development of human antibodies against a novel therapeutic target for neurodegenerative diseases. Other partnering activities successfully initiated include drug discovery collaborations with Cyclenium Pharma, Inc. (Canada) to exploit its proprietary next generation small molecule macrocyclic technology; with Schrödinger, Inc. (U.S.) to design novel small molecules against therapeutic targets selected by ONO, using Schrödinger’s computational drug discovery platform; and with Merus N.V. (Netherlands) to develop human bispecific antibodies against therapeutic targets selected by ONO for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
We will continue directing our drug discovery efforts into the future toward discovery and development of innovative pharmaceuticals in areas of diseases with as-yet unmet medical needs, focusing on cancer and neurological disease, and immunoregulation by maximizing our open innovation strategy.