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May 22, 2012

RIKEN-BSI Takeda Collaboration Center opens

RIKEN BSI and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company to work together on developing drugs for central nervous system diseases

On May 1, 2012, RIKEN (Ryoji Noyori, President) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Hasegawa Yasuchika, President) opened a RIKEN BSI-Takeda Collaboration Center within the premises of the RIKEN Brain Science Institute (RIKEN BSI; Susumu Tonegawa, Director).

The new center is intended to promote the sharing of knowledge and the exchange of opinions focused on not only short-term objectives but looking further to long term goals as well. It will be distinguished by a framework that fully integrates and utilizes the knowhow and technology that tends to be buried by the constraints of the kind of discipline-specific research that is typical of public research institutions and joint research projects between private corporations. Specifically, this new center will undertake the challenge of developing Japan's first drug discovery and drug development technology for central nervous system diseases for which there are currently no effective treatments.

Background

Schizophrenia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and bipolar disorders are central nervous system diseases for which no effective treatments currently exist. But tackling these diseases will require more than the usual drug discovery methodologies. If breakthroughs are to be achieved, it will be necessary to also apply a variety of elemental technology such as the analysis of gene expression within specific regions of the brain, bio-imaging, electrophysiology, and optogenetics.

Since its founding in 1997, RIKEN BSI has been carrying out basic research directed at developing elemental technologies in brain science and elucidating brain functions with a focus on neural circuits. The Takeda Pharmaceutical Company has built up a considerable database for drug discovery and its significant achievements in research and development related to the therapeutic areas such as metabolic and central nervous system diseases have made it one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world. The two organizations have come together to take advantage of RIKEN's program for RIKEN-industry collaboration centers to create a place in which there can be a streamlined process of research and development, starting with the elucidation of the central nervous system and the search for new drug targets and moving on to the invention of new drugs. The new Collaboration Center is expected to stimulate active exchange of personnel as scientists from RIKEN BSI and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company work closely together to forge new directions in research and achieve a far-reaching integration of knowledge, information and technology.

Outline

Center name and director

RIKEN BSI-Takeda Collaboration Center
(BTaC: RIKEN BSI-Takeda Collaboration Center)

Director: Tadaharu Tsumoto (RIKEN BSI Deputy Director)

Location

On premises of RIKEN BSI (2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama)

Duration

From May 1, 2012 to March 20, 2017

Operations

Building of a drug discovery platform

Seeking future candidate compounds and developing infrastructure technology for research leading to clinical trials

Seeking new drug targets and carrying out functional analyses

Research new approaches to understanding disease and work to discover new drugs to treat central nervous system diseases