Osaka University and Chugai Pharmaceutical announced the conclusion of a comprehensive collaboration agreement for advanced research in immunology between the Osaka University Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) and Chugai.
IFReC was selected for the World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative Program initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in 2007 and launched at Osaka University in October 2007. Headed by Director Shizuo Akira, an eminent immunologist, IFReC convenes approximately 30 of the world’s top-class principal investigators from Japan and overseas in the fields of immunology, live imaging and bioinformatics to conduct innovative immunological research.
In March 2011, a new research building was completed on Osaka University’s Suita Campus providing superior research facilities and an international environment in which to focus on research. The research conducted by IFReC is of the highest standard and recognized globally, with papers published in major international journals and prestigious international prizes awarded to its researchers.
Chugai is a leader in the field of biopharmaceuticals and antibody pharmaceuticals in Japan. In 2005 the company succeeded in developing the first domestically-created antibody drug, Actemra. Currently, Chugai is developing ACE910 (emicizumab) and CIM331 (nemolizumab) using its proprietary antibody engineering technologies. Going forward, Chugai aims to utilize middle molecule technologies, which are expected to become another central technology for the development of new drugs, to focus on the research and development of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceuticals.
This comprehensive collaboration will maintain an academic environment that allows researchers at IFReC to focus on basic research originating from their own ideas, with the aim of contributing back to society the results of the advanced immunology research. In addition, through the combination of the global top-class research in immunology at IFReC and the knowledge of innovative drug research accumulated by Chugai through its proprietary technologies, the obstacles between basic research and clinical application research will be eliminated. It is expected that this will lead to the unprecedented discovery of innovative novel drugs in the field of immunology.
Chugai will, according to the agreement, provide one billion yen per year for a period of 10 years in return for access to information on results relating to independent basic research projects at IFReC1) and the right of first refusal for joint research. In addition, a Collaboration Promotion Laboratory will be set up at IFReC to implement collaboration research toward clinical application.
IFReC and Chugai aim to have five to ten joint research projects in progress constantly. The collaboration of two organizations at the top-level of research and technology in the world will seek to achieve significant results that contribute to the benefit of the medical community and human health around the world.
【Outline of the comprehensive collaboration agreement】
Period: April 2017 to March 2027
Investment: 1 billion yen per year
Purpose: To benefit the society through further advancement of the basic immunology research at IFReC as well as contributing to society through the creation of innovative novel drugs by utilizing the immunology research capabilities at IFReC in the research and development of innovative pharmaceuticals at Chugai.
Research area: Immune-associated diseases
1. IFReC researchers will continue academic basic research without restriction.
2. Research outcomes of independent research projects1) that IFReC is engaged in will be regularly disclosed (reported) to Chugai twice per year.
3. Chugai will select research projects2) for joint research on the basis of the reports.
4. IFReC researchers will engage in joint research with Chugai.
5. In and after the final stages of non-clinical research, Chugai may engage in research development independently.
1) Excluding research projects already under contract with a third party.
2) The number of joint research projects to be engaged in will be decided through discussions between IFReC and Chugai.
Comment from Osaka University President Shojiro Nishio
Osaka University promotes collaboration with industry based on the concept “From university-industry cooperation to university-industry creation (co-creation)” and aims for innovation toward creation of social value. Chugai has its own drug design development technology and global network and is a leader in the field of biopharmaceuticals and antibody pharmaceuticals in Japan. The conclusion of a comprehensive collaborative agreement with Chugai is expected to enhance realization of the innovation the university is aiming for. This collaboration is a new form of university-industry cooperation at Osaka University. The funding for research activities at the basic research stage will promote basic research for the long-term and strengthen university-industry cooperation. The success of this collaboration will be an important foundation for university-industry co-creation at the university and the scheme is expected to be applied widely.
As of May 1, 2015, there were 15,535 undergraduate students across Suita, Minoh and Toyonaka campuses, and 7,886 graduate students. The staff numbered 6,363.
For further details on Osaka University see the website http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/index.html
About the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC)
IFReC was selected for the World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative Program initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in 2007 and launched at Osaka University on October 1, 2007. Led by internationally-renowned immunologist Shizuo Akira, the center is a world top-class research institution. The discoverer of regulatory T cells, Professor Shimon Sakaguchi, and 180 other high-level researchers are leading the world of immunology at IFReC. IFReC’s goal is to visualize the behavior, activation status, and interaction of immune cells in vivo through the fusion of immunology, imaging technology and bioinformatics, to understand the immune system comprehensively.
For further details on IFReC see the website http://www.ifrec.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/index.htm
Chugai Pharmaceutical is one of Japan’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies with strengths in biotechnology products. Chugai, based in Tokyo, specializes in prescription pharmaceuticals and is listed on the 1st section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. As an important member of the Roche Group, Chugai is actively involved in R&D activities in Japan and abroad. Specifically, Chugai is working to develop innovative products which may satisfy unmet medical needs, mainly focusing on the oncology area.
In Japan, Chugai’s research facilities in Gotemba and Kamakura are collaborating to develop new pharmaceuticals, and laboratories in Ukima are conducting research for technology development for industrial production. Overseas, Chugai Pharmabody Research based in Singapore is engaged in research focusing on the generation of novel antibody drugs by utilizing Chugai’s proprietary innovative antibody engineering technologies. Chugai Pharma USA and Chugai Pharma Europe are engaged in clinical development activities in the United States and Europe.
The consolidated revenue in 2015 of Chugai totalled 498.8 billion yen and the operating income was 90.7 billion yen (IFRS Core basis).
Additional information is available on the internet at http://www.chugai-pharm.co.jp/english
About the World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative Program
The World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative was launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). In the middle of intensifying competition for securing the world’s finest brains, Japan is facing the increasing needs to lead the world with its competitive edge in science and technology. In this environment, the WPI program aims to build within Japan “globally visible” research centers that boast a very high research standard and outstanding research environment, sufficiently attractive to prompt frontline researchers from around the world. Nine WPI centers have been established, all of which engage in research activities under strong leadership by center directors to realize four WPI objectives of advancing leading-edge research, creating interdisciplinary domains, establishing international research environments and reforming research institutions.
For further details on WPI see the websitehttp://www.mext.go.jp/english/research_promotion/1303822.htm
National University Corporation Osaka University
University-Industry Collaboration Division
Office for University-Industry Collaboration
World Premier International Research Center (WPI) Initiative
International Research Center Support Section
Research Promotion Bureau Basic Research Promotion Division
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
Chugai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd.For media
Media Relations Group, Corporate Communications Dept.
For US media
Chugai Pharma USA Inc.
For European media
Chugai Pharma France SAS
Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
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