News Releases

Sep. 29, 2000

Establishment of the Genomic Science Laboratories

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. announced today the establishment of a new research laboratory, effective October 2, 2000, within the Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Research Division. The Genomic Science Laboratories, as it will be called, will be dedicated to the joint efforts of the two companies in the use of genomics and other advanced technologies for R&D of new drugs and of diagnostic agents and systems. The companies hope that through this new research organization they will be able to exploit the high potential of the life science field for the pharmaceutical business.

The new research laboratory allows the centralization of the manpower, engineering and data on genomics-based drug discovery of the two companies. Researchers at Sumitomo Chemical Biotechnology Laboratory who have been engaged in drug-related research including genomics-based drug discovery; and researchers at the Genomics Research Group, organized in April 2000 as part of the Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Research Division; will be integrated into the new research laboratory. By boosting research prowess and efficiency through the integrated operation and management of drug discovery research, from initial screening to creation of pharmaceuticals, the companies aim to develop new drugs and new diagnostic agents and systems. The new laboratory will be jointly operated and funded by both companies, who plan to add to the number of researchers in this field and follow an aggressive strategy that includes collaboration with external research laboratories.

The success of the human genome project in decoding the entire human genome sequence shows the remarkable progress of genome research in the life science field. To take full advantage of this leap forward, major chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers in Western countries are aggressively expanding the scale of their operations through mega-mergers and enlarged research activities . In no other area is this truer than in the field of drug development, where the fiercest competition rages as companies labor to create new, epoch-making drugs which should be led by clarifying the functions of the genes contained in human genomes., Recognizing that drug discovery research based on genome information holds the key to future drug development, Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals have decided to consolidate their research efforts in drug creation. The new organization integrates the operation and management of the drug discovery process from initial screening to development of pharmaceuticals, in an attempt to achieve results through focused development targets and concentration of management resources.

The move is part of the restructuring of the research organizations of both companies, begun last year to foster and strengthen the pharmaceutical business of the Sumitomo Chemical Group. Specifically, in August 1999 safety studies, and in October 1999 process development were consolidated to Sumitomo Chemical, which is strong in these technologies. Last April saw the establishment of the Genomics Research Group at Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals, laying the foundation for genomics-based drug discovery research. Pharmaceuticals is a core business of the Sumitomo Chemical Group. The foundation of the Genomic Science Laboratories represents a strategic step by the two companies to further advance this business.

Note that research in agricultural biology, including the development of genetically modified plants, which fell under the responsibility of Sumitomo Chemical Biotechnology Laboratory, will be delegated to the Agricultural Chemicals Research Laboratory, which is responsible for agricultural science research, accelerating market-oriented, efficient development. In April this year, investigation into bioprocesses - using organic enzymes to induce synthetic reactions - was transferred from the Sumitomo Chemical Biotechnology Laboratory to the Organic Synthesis Research Laboratory. Drug research and agricultural chemicals research were thus concentrated in laboratories dedicated to their respective development, thereby creating a research operation better geared to producing business results.

With this change in the organization of the biotechnology-related research laboratories of Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals, the Sumitomo Chemical Biotechnology Laboratory will be dissolved. Taking full advantage of its aggregate knowledge in biotechnology to make direct contributions to the bio-Business of the Sumitomo Chemical Group in fields such as the development of drugs and agricultural chemicals, the new research arrangement will be properly poised to maximize the collective strength of the Group.