News Releases

Sep. 17, 2001

Joint Research into Pharmaceutical Development, based on Genome Information

Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. (President: Hiromasa Yonekura) and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. (President: Masaaki Yokotsuka) have concluded separate agreements with RIKEN (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) to participate in a joint research of pharmaceutical development based on genome information. The Institute has publicly invited to join the research. The two companies will offer information, including candidate substances for genome-derived pharmaceuticals, and will jointly analyze the three-dimensional structures of proteins and conduct research with the aim of finding new candidate substances for pharmaceuticals.

1)  Purpose of the joint research
RIKEN is currently engaged in a project to analyze the three-dimensional structures of more than 3000 different proteins, using full-length cDNA clones of mouse and to develop a database, using the NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) equipment at the Yokohama Institute and Spring-8, a large radiation facility at Harima Institute. It is working in close co-operation with relevant research groups and research departments.
In view of the importance of ensuring the prompt transfer of the research results, pharmaceutical companies, including the two mentioned above, will provide RIKEN with information about candidate proteins for genome-derived drugs (DNA clones). On the basis of this information, RIKEN will select the proteins whose structure and function are to be analyzed. It will conduct investigational research jointly with individual companies to discover candidate substances, which may lead to the development of epoch-making new drugs.
Such result will benefit the analyses of basic structures and functions of proteins, which will be carried out by the government.
2)  Outline of the joint research
1)  RIKEN will analyze the three-dimensional structures and functions of the DNA clone proteins to be supplied by the participating companies, and provide the companies with the obtained information.
2) The participating companies will conduct HTS (High-Throughput Screening), using the information on structures to be supplied by RIKEN and will carry out research to identify candidate substances for pharmaceuticals, which may interact with the proteins subjected to analysis.
3) Particular proteins will form the subject of joint research with a particular company.
4) The costs incurred in conducting the joint research will be borne, in principle, by each participating company.
5) Results of the joint research will be published in principle, after a decision has been taken as to whether or not intellectual property rights could be secured and necessary measures have been taken.
6) All intellectual property rights obtained will be shared.
3) Participating companies
Meetings convened to explain the joint research took place in Tokyo and Osaka on March 30 and April 20 respectively and fourteen companies, including Sumitomo Chemical and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals, expressed interest in taking part. RIKEN concluded confidential agreements with each of the applicant companies and was given information on DNA clones (protein) to be jointly researched. A screening committee, established by RIKEN, then selected the DNA clones (proteins) to be analyzed. Finally, agreements on joint research were negotiated with each of the companies that had satisfied the application criteria.

The following twelve companies have also concluded research contracts:
Asahi Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. (President: Kazumoto Yamamoto)
Eisai Co., Ltd. (President: Haruo Naito)
Shionogi & Co., Ltd. (President: Motozo Shiono)
Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (President: Kenjiro Miyatake)
Tanabe Seiyaku Co., Ltd. (President: Toshio Tanaka)
Pharmadesign, Inc. (President: Toshio Furuya)
Ajinomoto Co., Inc. (President: Kunio Egashira)
Kaken Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (President: Shiro Inui)
Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (President: Kiyoshi Morita)
K.K. Dnaform (President: Toshizo HayashiÅj
Toray Industries, Inc. (President: Katsuhiko Hirai)
Meiji Seika Kaisha, Ltd. (President: Ichiro Kitasato)
Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.
Corporate Communications’ General Affairs Department

Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.
Corporate Communications’ General Affairs & Personnel Office

RIKEN (Institute of Physical and Chemical Research)

Haruhiko Maekawa
Technology Transfer Division
Yoji Shimada
Public Relations Office (Media)