Research & Development

Drug Discovery Approach

Drug discovery method and its research area

In the process of drug discovery, we have amassed a library of compounds that acts on diverse targets such as lipids and enzymes and pursued our original path in drug discovery method using the Compound-Orient approach that enables us to identify those compounds that are effective against disease or that support treatment. We have also introduced a technology that enables us to identify compounds leading to the treatment of diseases more speedily and with higher accuracy and will continue to discover and develop novel drugs by utilizing the potential of the richly stocked library effectively. In addition, in our strategic field of oncology and its supportive care, we are working on drug discovery and development of innovative new drugs without being restrained by the Compound-orient approach.
In addition, we are conducting joint research with universities and research institutes that conduct research on the world's most advanced technologies, and are promoting the search for new drug seeds leading to innovative new drugs.
By combining state-of-the-art technologies of bio-venture companies with the drug discovery expertise cultivated through our research activities so far, we are aiming to identify and develop innovative new drug candidate compounds as a “post-Opdivo” drug. At the same time, we are also proactively engaged in acquiring innovative new technologies in areas with high medical needs.

Open Innovation

Even before the term of “open innovation” came into common use, we have long been driving drug discovery through the adoption of world-leading technologies and knowledge in various fields.
In order to further strongly promote discovery and development of revolutionary drugs through this initiative, our staffs who have extensive experiences in drug discovery research are located in the US and UK subsidiaries to promote collaborative research with promising universities, research institutions and venture companies there. Our research staffs dispatched to collaborating research institutions are working on their challenging research subjects.
In fiscal 2016, we signed a comprehensive research collaboration agreement with the National Cancer Research Center, aiming at creating superior anticancer drugs and exploring biomarkers for immune-oncology therapy, by maximizing the research capabilities possessed by both parties. We signed a license agreement with Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (U.S.) to obtain rights to use their genetically modified animals to discover fully human mono- and bispecific antibodies. We also entered into research collaboration agreement with Numab (Switzerland) to discover and develop a multi-specific antibody candidate in the immuno-oncology treatment. In addition, we signed a collaboration agreement with X-Chem Inc. (U.S.) to develop novel small molecules in the oncology field.
By maximizing the open innovation strategy, we are aiming to promote discovery and development of innovative drugs in areas with unmet medical needs, and in the areas of cancer and its supportive care.