TOKYO, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- KYODO JBN -- Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. ("Chugai") [Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo. President: Osamu Nagayama] announced today that "Forerunner Pharma Research Co., Ltd." ("FPR") was jointly established with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui") [Head Office: Chiyoda- ku, Tokyo. President: Shoei Utsuda] and Central Institute for Experimental Animals ("CIEA") [Head Office: Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa. President: Tatsuji Nomura]. FPR will be engaged in the discovery of innovative new pharmaceuticals and diagnostic products and is planning to commence operations from April 22, 2005.
In 2002, Chugai, Mitsui, and CIEA established a joint venture called PharmaLogicals Research Pte. in Singapore and have been promoting research programs through setting up of new genome-based drug discovery system for the efficient generation of therapeutic antibodies by obtaining pathological and genomic information from disease and genetic analysis. In order to swiftly advance the research outcomes to drug development, the need arose to establish a comprehensive research system integrating the drug design strategy and pathophysiological studies, in addition to the cutting- edge knowledge from genomic research.
Established as a solution to meet the need, FPR, based in the Komaba Open Laboratory of University of Tokyo Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), is expected to deliver the ability to conduct innovative drug exploratory by integrating Chugai's drug development technologies with the state-of-the-art knowledge and information accumulated in universities and other research institutes.
FPR will utilize research outcomes in pathological proteomics accumulated by PharmaLogicals, and further develop organized and collaborative research with RCAST and other institutes, in order to conduct concrete drug candidate screening and discovery research.
Positioning FPR as a new research center for genome-based drug discovery, as well as a new business-academia collaboration model following the transformation of national universities into independent corporations, Chugai seeks to build an organic research network in which the participating entities can generate new value.
Chugai has been establishing its business structure to become a leading domestic pharmaceutical company with global management infrastructure, as an important member of the Roche Group since October 2002. With the establishment of FPR, Chugai will further enhance its ability to search new drugs, and will pursue the discovery of therapeutic antibodies or molecular targeting drugs with small molecules for disease fields such as oncology and lifestyle-related diseases.
Mitsui, in the wake of the paradigm shift from treatment to healthcare with more weight on diagnosis and prevention, has been positioning the molecular diagnostic business in the cancer area as one of its core businesses. Thus the company has been promoting the acquisition of the molecular diagnostics technologies through establishment of the R&D joint venture in Singapore and investment in biotechnology firms in the US, as well as in-licensing the leading-edge technologies developed in those invested targets. Mitsui is working to create a new business model of commercializing the diagnostic technologies in Japan and Asia enabling early detection of specific cancers and diagnosis of metastases and recurrence risks, which were not possible with the traditional diagnosis or examinations.
CIEA, for over 50 years since its establishment in 1952, has been developing the disease analysis systems contributing to medical and bioscience research. The company's past accomplishments include establishment of the development and production system for quality experimental animals, foundation of an international "Monitoring Center" to monitor quality standards of those animals, production of the "human disease model animals" to which advanced technologies including transgenic method applied, and the new in vivo evaluation system with aforementioned technologies incorporated. In addition, CIEA enabled the transplantation of such hard-to-transplant cancers as in prostate and lung, prior to which had been impossible with existing immunodeficient mouse, by applying super-immunodeficient mouse. This is highly expected to become the disease model analysis/evaluation system that greatly contributes to further advancement of research, diagnosis, and the new drug development for cancer.
Outline of the "Forerunner Pharma Research Co., Ltd."
1. New Company name "Forerunner Pharma Research Co., Ltd."
2. Location of HQ 2-16, Komaba 4-chome, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
3. Capital 100 million yen
4. Ownership Chugai 85%, Mitsui 14%, CIEA 1%
5. Operations Identification and validation of new
targets for therapeutic and diagnostic
6. Representative Dr. Tatsumi Yamazaki (Member of the Board,
Executive Vice President, Chugai
7. Date Established April 14, 2005
8. Operation Starting Date April 22, 2005 (plan)
9. Number of Employees 10 (Initially seconded from Chugai)
Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.