Centers & Labs

RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science

Drug Discovery Chemistry Platform Unit

Unit Leader: Hiroo Koyama (Ph.D.)
Hiroo  Koyama(Ph.D.)

The main focus of our unit is to identify small molecule drug candidates suitable for animal safety studies and subsequent human clinical trials. Our dedicated scientists conduct lead compound generation, and multi-dimensional lead compound optimization on potency to target receptor/enzyme, PKPD profiles, and off-target activities through SAR development. By capitalizing on RIKEN's available expertise in X-ray crystal structure analysis, in-silico modeling studies, and HTS, we strive to expedite the drug discovery process by rational drug design. Our current therapeutic targets include rare genetic diseases and hard-to-treat cancers.

Main Research Field


Related Research Fields

Medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy


  • Drug discovery
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Pharmacokinetics optimization

Selected Publications

  1. Koda, Y.; Kikuzato, K.; Mikuni, J.; Tanaka, A.; Yuki, H.; Honma, T.; Tomabechi, Y.; Kukimoto-Niino, M.; Shirouzu, M.; Shirai,F.; Koyama, H.:
    “Identification of pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines as potent HCK and FLT3-ITD dual inhibitors”
    Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2017, 27, 4994-4998.
  2. Yuki, H.; Kikuzato, K.; Koda, H.; Mikuni, J.; Tomabechi, Y.; Kukimoto-Niino, M.; Tanaka, A.; Shirai, F.; Shirouzu, M.; Koyama, H.; Honma, T.:
    “Activity cliff for 7-substituted pyrrolo-pyrimidine inhibitors of HCK explained in terms of predicted basicity of the amine nitrogen”
    Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2017, 25, 4259-4264.
  3. Saito,Y.; Yuki, H.; Kuratani, M.; Hashizume, Y.; Takagi, S.; Honma, T.; Tanaka, A.; Shirouzu, M.; Mikuni, M.; Handa, N,; Ogahara, I.; Sone, A.; Najima, Y,; Tomabechi, Y.; Wakiyama, M.; Uchida, N,; Tomizawa-Murasawa, M.; Kaneko, A.; Tanaka, S.; Suzuki, N.; Kajita, H.; Aoki, Y.; Ohara, O.; Shultz, Leonard D.; Fukami, T.; Goto, T.; Taniguchi, S.; Yokoyama, S.; Ishikawa, F.:
    “A Pyrrolo-Pyrimidine Derivative Targets Human Primary AML Stem Cells in Vivo”
    Sci. Transl.Med. 2013, 5, 181ra52.
  4. Tashiro, T.; Nakagawa, R.; Shigeura, T.; Watarai, H.; Taniguchi, M.; Mori, K.:
    “RCAI-61 and related 6-modified analogs of KRN7000: their synthesis and bioactivity for mouse lymphocytes to produce interferon- in vivo”
    Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2013, 21, 3066-3079.
  5. Shiozaki, M.; Tashiro, T.; Koshino, H.; Shigeura, T.; Watarai, H.; Taniguchi, M.; Mori, K.:
    “Synthesis and biological activity of hydroxylated analogs of RCAI-80”
    Tetrahedron 2013, 69, 9710-9725.
  6. Tashiro, T,; Shigeura, T.; Shiozaki, M.; Watarai, H.; Taniguchi, M.; Mori, K.:
    “RCAI-133, an N-methylated analogue of KRN7000, activates mouse natural killer T cells to produce Th2-biased cytokines”
    MedChemComm 2013, 4, 949-955.
  7. Shiozaki,, M.; Tashiro, T.; Koshino, H.; Shigeura, T.; Watarai, H.; Taniguchi, M.; Mori, K.:
    “Synthesis and biological activity of hydroxylated analogues of KRN7000 (-galactosylceramide)”
    Carbohydr. Res., 2013, 370, 46–66.

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Hiroo Koyama
Unit Leader

Core Members

Fumiyuki Shirai
Senior Research Scientist
Nobuo Cho
Senior Research Scientist
Junichi Kazami
Senior Technical Scientist
Katsuhiko Sekimata
Research Scientist
Yasuko Koda
Research Scientist
Hirokazu Kubota
Research Scientist
Kenichi Washizuka
Research Scientist
Hirofumi Yamamoto
Research Scientist
Ko Kikuzato
Technical Scientist
Rie Osaki
Technical Staff I
Takuya Tashiro
Visiting Scientist
Fumiko Kyotani
Part-time Worker
Chieko Shida