Case Study: Research and Development

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Drug-Discovery Research Consortiums, Astellas Pharma Inc.

Objectives

  • Astellas has initiated collaborative research to discover new drugs for the treatment of NTDs. This joint research aims to help develop antiprotozoan and antidengue virus medications.
  • One of the consortiums, which is working on an antiprotozoan drug, is in collaboration with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Nagasaki University, High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK), and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). This research targets NTDs caused by parasitic protozoans, such as leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and sleeping sickness, for which effective medicines do not exist; they require the development of new therapeutic drugs. The other consortium for antidengue virus is in collaboration with the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Nagasaki University.
  • Astellas provides our selected compounds for evaluation. In addition, the consortiums employ structure-based drug discovery by using cutting-edge technologies, such as target discovery, information technology, and the fragment evolution method.

Lessons Learned?

  • We have learned the importance of open innovation and collaboration with industry, academia, and both government and nonprofit organizations.
  • Integrating our knowledge, technologies, and expertise has provided added values for research efficiency and higher quality to the consortium.
  • We anticipate that awareness of the consortium’s activity will continue to grow. For example, we are receiving more and more collaborative research proposals from third parties.

Results to Date?

The consortiums have accomplished the following:

  • Initiated the screening of Astellas’s compound library.
  • Developed iNTRODB (Integrated Neglected TROpical Disease DataBase) for worldwide use, which has already accelerated NTD research beyond the consortiums.
  • Initiated the screening of Astellas’s compound library.
  • Developed iNTRODB (Integrated Neglected TROpical Disease DataBase) for worldwide use, which has already accelerated NTD research beyond the consortiums.

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