Takeda, Astellas and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking to establish joint venture company for incubation of early drug discovery programs

Takeda, Astellas, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) have signed a master agreement to establish a joint venture company. The new company will be dedicated to the incubation of early drug discovery programs, primarily originating from Japan and toward the creation of innovative therapeutics.

Japan, as one of the world’s leaders in drug discovery and development, is home to both world-class academic institutions conducting innovative basic research in drug discovery and global pharmaceutical companies, with extensive expertise in early drug research and development. Both possess a wealth of early drug discovery programs with breakthrough potential.

However, in recent years, advancing academic discoveries from bench to bedside, known colloquially as the “valley of death,” has presented a major challenge when it comes to unleashing the full potential of innovative technologies and seed assets originating in Japan. In response to this challenge, the three companies have been engaged in discussions to establish a joint venture company that will seamlessly cover the entire drug discovery process, spanning early drug discovery research through the inception of drug discovery startups.

The joint venture company will focus on the following three aspects:

  • Advancing innovative drug discovery programs primarily originating in Japan into the global pharmaceutical market.
  • Incubating globally competitive drug discovery technology and fostering entrepreneurship.
  • Unleashing the potential of drug discovery ecosystem in Japan through the creation of high caliber start-up companies.

In addition to establishing the joint venture company, Takeda and Astellas will provide support to the joint venture company leveraging their expertise gained from global drug discovery research and development, aiming to accelerate open innovation in early-stage drug discovery, and toward the creation of start-up companies for the benefit of society.

The joint venture company plans to begin incubation activities by collaboratively working with academia, pharmaceutical companies, and start-up companies across Japan to enable access to potentially transformative early drug discovery programs.

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