Our Research Interests

3. Cardiovascular and renal diseases

1. Oncology

1-1.Small molecule programs

  • I.Immuno-Oncology/Cancer microenvironment

    Small molecule compounds activating cancer immunity strongly and/or tumor-specifically in solid tumors by mono-therapy or combination with immuno-checkpoint-inhibitors

    Small molecule compounds changing tumor microenvironment into inflamed condition (TIL infiltrating condition)

    Novel adjuvants that can activate intracellular immune molecule(s)

    Small molecule compounds with a patient stratification strategy

  • II.Growth/Survival signals

    Unique drug discovery platforms targeting signal molecules such as small GTPase, phosphatase and scaffold protein, which are currently thought to have low druggability

    Programs focusing on specific inhibitors for driver or resistance mutation (including fusion and variant)

  • III.Epigenetics

    Small molecule compounds targeting epigenetic factors, which have anti-tumor activity in vivo with predictive biomarker for patient stratification

    Novel epigenetic factors to activate anti-tumor immunity

  • IV.Model and technology

    Unique in vitro or in vivo models of leukemia or reflecting cancer immunity in human

    Methods for predicting antigenicity of neo-antigen with more efficiency and accuracy than currently available algorisms

    Technology platform to analyze drug combination effect

  • <Not interested in>

    Just controlling metastasis process (e.g., cell motility, cell adhesion, etc.)

    Regulating differentiation/growth signals essential for homeostasis

    "Best-in-class" without strong differentiating points from current standard of cares

    Me-too-concept without clear differentiation strategy

    Targets that cannot be assayed in vitro

    Programs without key points of differentiation from competitors

1-2.Biologics programs

  • I.Novel molecular targets/mechanisms or technologies for the development of "Biologics" for cancer therapy. "Biologics" mean antigen-binding proteins such as antibodies, antibody-like formats, etc.

    Novel molecular targets/mechanisms inducing non-apoptotic/highly-immunogenic cell death or interrupting tumor (or virus)-evoked immune evasion pathways

    Novel molecular targets/mechanisms associated with cancer immune suppression, immune escape or immune checkpoints

    Novel molecular targets/mechanisms associated with refractory/resistant cells to the existing-therapy

    Novel molecular targets/mechanisms for cancer-associated fibroblasts or mesenchymal stem cells

    Novel molecular targets/mechanisms or biologics for applying the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology of Daiichi Sankyo.

    DS has developed a proprietary ADC technology that has recently been validated in clinical studies and has advantages over current ADC technologies. We are interested in novel monoclonal antibody candidates for our ADC platform.

2. Pain/Sensory neuronal systems

2-1.Chronic mixed pain (e.g., low back pain, etc.), chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), or prevention of transition from acute to chronic pain

  • Novel targets/compounds that enhance descending pain modulatory system

    Novel targets/compounds showing additive or synergistic action with calcium channel α2δ ligands

    Novel neuroprotective targets/ compounds for CIPN

    Clinical relevant animal models for CIPN

    Stratification biomarkers for pain in human

    Methods to find unmet medical needs or drug repositioning in pain area with BIG DATA/REAL WORLD DATA

  • <Not interested in>

    Diseases : acute inflammatory pain, acute migraine

    Targets : Opioids without novel technologies, trp antagonists (trp V1, M8, etc.), epigenetic regulators, anti-inflammatory agents, well-known neuroprotective agents

2-2.Vision loss caused by retinal degeneration
Sensorineural hearing loss

  • Enhancement of regeneration of neurons or functional cells

    Novel approaches to modulate autophagy or ER stress, silencing excitotoxicity, or other breakthrough neuroprotective pathways/agents

    Restoration of organ homeostasis (e.g., removing cytotoxic molecules in retina, restoration of ion balance in endolymph)

    Novel drug delivery systems enabling sustained release in retina or inner ear

  • <Not interested in>

    Well-known antioxidants, glutamate receptor antagonists, intraocular pressure lowering agents, angiogenesis inhibitors, and anti-inflammatory targets or agents

3. Cardiovascular and renal diseases

We seek novel targets for the following diseases

3-1.Heart diseases

  • I.Acute and chronic heart failure (AHF/CHF)

  • II.Improvement of cardiovascular morbidity (prevention of decompensation/ re-hospitalization/renal failure) and mortality

    Specific patient targets for AHF: Hospitalized within 48 hours and failure to improve/early relapse with worsening HF

    Symptomatic improvements (dyspnea/walking distance) coupled with morbidity or mortality benefits

    HF with preserved (HFpEF) and reduced (HFrEF) ejection fraction

  • III.Arrhythmia

    Terminate persistent/permanent arterial fibrillation (AF) and/or maintain sinus rhythm in patients with AF with little risk of ventricular adverse effects

    Prevent lethal arrhythmia in acute/chronic heart failure

    Prevent lethal arrhythmia associated with genetic mutation

  • [Interested in]

    Improvement of cardiac performance without affecting heart rate/O2 consumption

    Direct inhibition of primary cardiac hypertrophy

    Congenital heart disorder (e.g., dilated/hypertrophic cardiomyopathy)

    Prolongation of action potential duration specifically in atrium or unique mechanisms to terminate atrial fibrillation

3-2.Kidney diseases

  • I.Kidney protection

    Delay of progression of nephropathy in chronic kidney diseases (CKD), diabetic nephropathy, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease

    Prevention or treatment of drug-induced acute kidney injury

    Novel treatments for chronic nephritis

  • II.Complications of kidney dysfunction

    CKD-mineral and bone disorder: Hyperphosphatemia, Vascular calcification, Secondary hyperparathyroidism

    Uremic symptoms: pruritus, anorexia, encephalopathy

  • [Interested in]

    Direct modulation of disease initiator or enhancer

    Glomerular capillary pressure control

    Final common pathway to end-stage renal disease

    Endogenous protection mechanism

3-3.Vascular diseases

  • I.Vascular dysfunction associated diseases

    Peripheral arterial disease focusing on critical limb ischemia and intermittent claudication

    Microvascular-mediated organ/tissue dysfunction (diabetic macular edema, wound healing, vascular dementia, etc.)

  • [Interested in]

    Oxygen delivery to muscle (e.g., modulation of hemoglobin)

    Endothelial integrity (e.g., vascular leak)

    Granulation tissue formation (e.g., angiogenesis)

    Vascular maturation (e.g., pericyte-EC interaction)

4. Other diseases

4-1.Rare diseases

  • I.Monogenic / Rare diseases

    Innovative therapeutics for genetically defined diseases with high unmet medical needs (severe/progressive/high lethality)

    Give priority to programs with direct approaches toward pathogenic mutations. (e.g., functional improvement of the pathogenic protein, correction of aberrant splicing, or modulation of the protein level)

    Particular interests in congenital metabolic diseases and neuromuscular diseases caused by single gene mutation

    No preference in therapeutic area or modality. No requirement in patient number

  • II.Nucleic acid therapeutics (NATs)

    Novel delivery systems for NATs like antisense oligonucleotides particularly targeting muscle, CNS, and bone marrow

  • III.Gene therapy

    Technological innovations relevant to gene therapy, such as novel vectors (e.g., no insertion, bigger gene size, longer expression, on/off system) or delivery systems (e.g., minimum immunogenicity) that can overcome existing problems (e.g., gene size, immunogenicity, risk related to gene insertion, administration route) of current technology

  • IV.Collaboration for basic research

    Identification and/or functional analysis of causative genes or novel molecular targets

    Pathological mechanisms of genetic diseases that could be common with sporadic diseases

    Novel knock-in animal models generated by inserting mutant human gene

  • <Not interested in>

    Indication: Rare cancer

    Drug delivery system (DDS): Lipid nanoparticles

    Gene therapy: Gene insertion into host genome

4-2.Gut microbiome-related diseases

  • I.Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), Celiac disease

    Innovative therapeutic targets and approaches for gut microbiome modulating disease outcome

  • II.Collaboration for basic research

    Unique and well-characterized animal disease models to understand gut microbiome-related diseases

  • <Not interested in>

    Infectious diseases and cancer

    Microbiota-"based" therapeutics, such as fecal microbiota transplantation or therapy using genetically engineered bacteria

4-3.Stroke and anemia

  • I.Stroke/Transient ischemic attack (TIA)

    Novel therapeutics for stroke/TIA patients and late sequela of stroke

  • II.Hematological diseases

    Novel therapeutics for hematological diseases

    Anemic disorders with erythropoietin resistance, for example, sickle cell anemia, cancer-related anemia, etc

  • <Not interested in>

    Anti-thrombotic therapies.

    So-called "neuroprotectants" for the stroke treatment

    Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents and iron supplementation

5. Cell therapy

5-1.Stroke or peripheral artery disease/critical limb ischemia

  • I.Research on functional potentiation of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) by

    combination with biomaterial

    combination with different type of cells

    modification of culture method using chemical compounds, etc.

    gene modification using safer technology

5-2.Regenerative cell therapy for hepatic cirrhosis

5-3.Isolation/preparation of a novel type of somatic stem/progenitor cells or iPS cell-derived cells that have patentability

5-4.Adoptive T cell therapy for cancer

  • I.Novel technologies for high quality iPS cell-derived T cells

  • II.Novel technologies that potentiate T cells

6. Technology and related research

6-1.Nucleic acid therapeutics, gene vaccines

  • I.Novel mRNA modification methods suitable for nucleic acid therapeutics

  • II.Novel molecular targets in genetic disorders suitable for nucleic acid therapeutics

  • III.Novel molecular antigens in genetic disorders, rare cancer, and pediatric cancer suitable for gene vaccines

  • IV.Novel delivery platforms for systemic or local administration of antisense oligonucleotides, siRNA, or modified mRNA

    DS owns chemically modified ENA® oligonucleotides technology. We welcome the proposal that reveals a synergistic effect with our technology.

  • <Not interested in>

    Viral vectors, delivery systems specific for plasmid DNA therapy, peptide vaccine

6-2.Targets for protein therapeutics

  • I.Target validation research for extracellular/membrane bound proteases that are suitable for protein therapeutics

    Protease inhibition is MoA of protein therapeutics

    Difficult targets to obtain effective inhibitors

    Animal disease models and/or translational research (tissues or cells from patients) will be required

    It is preferable that the researchers have knowledge and experiences of enzymology in addition to those of animal disease models and translational research

    DS owns low-/mid-sized protein scaffolds together with panning technology

  • <Not interested in>

    Cell-based target validation only using human cell lines or primary cells from animals

6-3.Peptide therapeutics

  • I.Novel technologies to extend half-life (e.g., Q1M dosing in human) of existing peptides/proteins by fusing novel peptide

    Species cross reactivities (mice, rat, monkey and human) are required

    This wish includes peptide tags that bind to some proteins/cells and append recycling functions

    Preferably less than 5 kDa peptide

    Immunogenicity should be considered

  • II.Novel peptide technologies to improve the stability and/or solubility of peptides/proteins by fusing novel peptide

    Applicable to various peptide/protein therapeutics

    Preferably less than 5 kDa peptide

    Immunogenicity should be considered

  • III.Novel chemical modification to stabilize peptides with α-helical or β-sheet-like structures and enhance cell-permeability aiming for the regulation of intracellular protein-protein interaction

  • IV.Nobel library technologies applicable to peptides, non-canonical peptides, and peptide mimetics to discover potent ligands against undruggable targets

  • <Not interested in>

    Chemical modification/conjugation (PEGylation, etc.), non-natural amino acid, large protein fusion, albumin binding domains derived from protein A/G or related motifs

6-4.Technologies for gene therapy

  • I.Novel technologies engineering rAAV vectors for lifelong gene therapy

    Technologies enabling administration of the rAAV vector at least two times to the same patient

    Technologies enabling long/stable expression of gene of interest by rAAV vector in proliferating cells

6-5.Technologies on liquid biopsy

  • I.Methods to detect cancer cell-related exovivoe in vivo

    Distinguish cancer cell-related exosome from normal cell-produced exosome

    Analysis of protein and/or mRNA from cancer cell-related exosome

6-6.Technologies to detect phosphorylated proteins on peripheral blood mononuclear cells using flow cytometry for clinical use

  • With easy sample preparation at clinical site

    Sample stimulation available at sampling timing

    Stable phosphorylation status for at least 3 days after sampling

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