Drug Discovery Research Unit

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Drug Discovery Platform that Maximize the Drug Discovery Process

Drug Discovery Platform of the Drug Discovery Research Unit supports the discovery of various modalities as well as small molecular entities. We will utilize the vast amount of high-quality and highly reproducible data generated from this process to build new drug discovery processes, such as AI drug discovery.

Four Processes as the Foundations for Drug Discovery Research

In drug discovery research, there are four important processes; "Discover", "Create", "Evaluate", and "Control". The Drug Discovery and Research Unit has advanced drug discovery platforms that support these processes.

"Discover" candidate compounds for new drugs

We use all means to find true lead compounds that are candidate compounds for drugs. High-throughput Screening (HTS), which makes full use of our proprietary miniaturization technologies and a variety of detection techniques, Scaffold Discovery using chemoinformatics and parallel synthesis techniques to find a promising scaffold, Structure-Based Drug Design (SBDD), which designs the compound by 3D structural analysis and computational chemistry of disease target molecles and compounds, Natural product discovery, which uses proprietary microorganisms, and so on. Making full use of our platform, we contribute to the "discovery" process through a variety of approaches.

Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Structure-Based Drug Designkeyboard_arrow_down
  • Structural analysis of proteins
  • Biophysics
  • Virtual screening
  • CADD
  • FBDD
HTSkeyboard_arrow_down
  • μHTS・HT-MS・TSA
  • Genetic editing technology
  • Compound management
Scaffold Discoverykeyboard_arrow_down
  • Chemoinformatics
  • Parallel synthesis
Natural Product Discoverykeyboard_arrow_down
  • Microorganism library
  • Natural products
"Create" Molecules Essential for Drug Discovery Research

Various molecules are produced for evaluation, such as new drug candidates, related compounds, and target proteins. Small molecule compounds utilize platforms such as parallel synthesis to efficiently synthesize multiple samples, chemical synthesis on a mg-kg scale, and microbial transformation utilizing the molecular conversion capabilities unique to microorganisms. As for recombinant proteins and antibodies, by using our proprietary platform for design and production, we will quickly obtain high-quality samples that meet our needs and accelerate the entire drug discovery research process.

Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Compound Library Synthesiskeyboard_arrow_down
  • Parallel synthesis
  • Pharma Space Library
  • Lab Automation
Compound Synthesiskeyboard_arrow_down
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Microbial Transformation
Recombinant Proteinskeyboard_arrow_down
  • Design / Production
  • Heterologous Expression
  • Purification
"Evaluate" the characteristics of new drug candidates

We will efficiently acquire data to quickly identify the properties of our candidate compounds as drugs. In addition to in vitro physiological activity evaluation and pharmacological activity evaluation using imaging and high-density, high-precision evaluation technology, we have a proprietary physicohemical properties, ADME and toxicity evaluation platform. Mass spectrometry (MS) Imaging and state-of-the-art analytical technology are used to measure the biological behavior of small molecule compounds as well as various molecules from various candidate compounds such as peptides and nucleic acids to biomarkers.

Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Physicochemical Property / Kinetics
/ Toxicity Evaluationkeyboard_arrow_down
  • Physicochemical property / ADMET screening
  • D/P system
  • High-Speed patch clamp assay
  • Integrated data analysis
Bioactivity evaluationkeyboard_arrow_down

  • High-density and high -precision assay
  • Imaging technology
Bioanalysiskeyboard_arrow_down

  • Nucleic acid / peptide / antibody quantitative analysis
  • MS imaging
"Control" technology to deliver new drug candidate compounds to target

In order to demonstrate the proper efficacy of the administered compound in the body, it is important to ensure that the compound is delivered to the target site appropriately by optimizing its solubility, absorption, and tissue translocation. To "control" the pharmacokinetics of compounds, we have a pharmaceutical platform that explores the direction of drug development. Various technologies are used to improve oral absorption and control release. We are also focused on developing new targeting technologies that target central nervous system and tumors.

Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Exploratory Formulationkeyboard_arrow_down
  • Enhanced oral absorption
  • Controlled release
  • Targeting

Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Structure-Based Drug Design
Contributing to drug discovery through molecular design for various modalities including middle molecule / protein drugs, with a focus on small molecule drugs
構造化学
X-ray crystallography of proteins and compounds
Nakao, N. et al. Communications Chemistry 2, 20(2019)
  • We are promoting SBDD research, which extends from the generation of lead compounds to optimization research, using structural analysis of proteins (X-ray crystallography, cryoelectron microscopy), physicochemical methods (NMR, SPR and MST) and computational chemistry.
  • The incorporation of cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies and cryoelectron microscopy technologies, as well as information from Biophysics and X-ray crystal analysis, enables efficient molecular designs through virtual screening and CADD.We are also utilizing our own approaches, such as FBDD using deep learning and 19F-NMR.

Core Technology

Structural analysis of proteins / Biophysics / Virtual screening / CADD / FBDD

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

HTS High-troughput Screening
Acquisition of true hit compounds through high quality HTS utilizing micronization technology and advanced detection technology
HTC
HT-MS (MALDI-TOF MS) system has rapiflex (Bruker) as a center
  • To evaluate compounds of several tens to millions of sizes, we use high density microplates greater than 1536 wells. Compared to 96-well, reduction of materials to about 1/20 achieves dramatic improvement in measurement processing speed. µHTS can be achieved using over one million compound libraries by combining small-volume dispenses of 1 μL or less and highly sensitive instruments, promoting miniaturization of assay systems, and innovative ways to obtain high-precision data.
  • The HT-MS device is compatible with high density microplates greater than 1536 wells and can be screening for more than 100,000 HT-MS samples per day. High-quality HTS is supported by highly reliable compound management based on our experience in complying with laws and regulations, and cell construction technology based on high-speed and high-precision gene editing. We contribute to the promotion of the DISC project of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) Drug Discovery Booster, utilizing the sophisticated HTS function.

Core Technology

μHTS / HT-MS / TSA / Genetic editing technology / Compound management

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Scaffold Discovery
Accelerate acquisition of the compounds and information required for Hit to Lead
HTC
3D pharmacophore fingerprint
  • Leverage our chemoinformatics technology and parallel synthesis platform to efficiently expand the SARs of hit compounds (Hit Expansion) and quickly identify promising scaffolds.
  • Unique 3D pharmacophore fingerprint clustering enables the acquisition of compounds with objectivity and diversity. Even with the few hit compound information, we will clarify the qualities of the scaffold through Hit Expansion.

Core Technology

Chemoinformatics / Parallel synthesis

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Natural Product Discovery
Proposal for novel natural substance drug discovery
HTC
Muraminomicins
Fujita Y. et al. J Antibiot. 64, 7 495-501(2011)
  • Our microorganism library boasts one of the most diverse and extensive collections in Japan. Using cultured extract samples produced based on our proprietary know-how, we will carry out various types of screening that are unique to natural products, such as HTS and phenotype screening.
  • Bioactive samples are acquired from hit samples by drawing on technologies for large-scale culture, purification and structural analysis. Biosynthetic gene research is also underway on the active substances obtained.

Core Technology

Microorganism library / Natural products

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Compound Library Synthesis
Creation of new library oriented to PPI Drug Discovery
HTC HTC
  • We use our in-house developed library synthesis platform to synthesize compound libraries that match drug discovery needs. Utilizing a platform that combines parallel synthesis technology and high-throughput purification technology, it is possible to synthesize 14,000 compounds annually. We have been synthesizing our in-house library of 100,000 compounds.
  • Our strengths lie in our practical library design technology, which is based on the Pharma Space theory.

Core Technology

Parallel synthesis / Pharma Space Library / Laboratory Automation

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Compound Synthesis
Solving all synthetic needs with competitive technology
HTC
  • Compounds required for various pharmacology and safety assessments are synthesized on various scales from mg to kg. Synthetic compounds span a wide variety of fields, including natural products, nucleic acid (monomer derivatives), peptides, TPD, macrocycle, carbohydrate chains, and probe molecules for target discovery, as well as hit compounds found in the HTS and the surrounding small molecule compounds.
  • Microbial transformation technology is also used for compounds that are difficult to obtain in normal chemical synthesis. There is a record of synthesis of metabolites of pharmaceuticals, which is essential for safety assessment in particular.

Core Technology

Organic Synthesis / Microbial Transformation

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Recombinant Proteins
Design and production of fit-for-purpose recombinant proteins
HTC
Constant-temperature incubator
  • We design fit-for-purpose proteins for various purposes, and utilize an expression and purification platform to rapidly generate recombinant proteins by heterologous expression.
  • In addition to exploratory applications such as HTS, we design and manufacture many other proteins for crystallization, which require the highest levels of quality and quantity, and antibodies for physical property and safety testing.
  • User feedback on the produced proteins provides us with the know-how to prepare proteins that are optimized for various needs and individual applications.
  • Platform capable of creatively designing and producing optimal protein for research needs is the cornerstone of our technology to promote innovative drug discovery research.

Core Technology

Design and Production / Heterologous expression / Purification

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Physicochemical Property / Kinetics / Toxicity Evaluation
Acquisition of "druggable" compounds through accurate pharmaceutical quality assessment using in vitro data
HTC
Automated cell culture system
HTC
Example of HT-ADMET System: SyncroPatch 384PE (manufactured by Nanion Technologies GmbH)
  • We conduct rapid evaluations of the drug candidates properties multidimensionally utilizing the physicochemical property, ADME, and toxicities assessment platform. Utilize state-of-the-art automation technology and multiple newly developed technologies, we quickly and seamlessly evaluate the physicochemical poperties, pharmacokinetics and toxicity using small amounts of compound solutions. Having the best patch clamp technology in Japan, we conduct a highly accurate human cardiotoxicity risk assessment.
  • We conduct developability assessments of candidate compounds through higher-level physicochemical property evaluations. Based on our wealth of experience, we evaluate development risks and propose avoidance measures from physicochemical properties data. Utilizing our proprietary D/P system, we predict the human absorption rate of poorly soluble compounds.

Core Technology

Physicochemical Property / ADMET screening / D/P system / High-Speed patch clamp assay / Integrated data analysis

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Physiological acitivity evaluation
Acquisition of high-precision data for the selection of new drug candidates
HTC
CellVoyager 7000S (Yokogawa Electric Co., Ltd.)
  • We will evaluate the physiological activity of hit compounds discovered in HTS and SBDD/FBDD using cell-free/cell-based methods, and obtain the data necessary for selection of development candidates.
  • In cell-free assay, we will optimize the assay condition for precise evalution. In cell-based assay, we will measure accurately surrogate markers that reflect the condition of the disease.
  • We possess a wealth of applications such as live imaging, 3D imaging, phenotypic texture analysis and quantitation through machine learning, drawing on the utilization of imaging technology.

Core Technology

High-density and high -precision assay / Imaging technology

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Bioanalysis
Pharmacokinetic / biomarker assessment using advanced analytical techniques
HTC
MS Imaging: Renal localization of antibiotics (red)
  • The tissue concentration of the administered compound is measured rapidly. Organ localization in microregions is also assessed by MS imaging. Furthermore, we develop quantitative methods to measure endogenous biomarkers with high accuracy, contributing to the evaluation of the drug efficacy and toxicity of the drug candidates.
  • Using MS and LBA analysis techniques, we measure not only small molecules but also medium molecules, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, antibodies, and other modalities without labeling the compounds.

Core Technology

Nucleic acid / peptide / antibody quantitative analysis / MS imaging

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Drug Discovery Research Platforms

Exploratory Formulation
Front runner in physicochemical properties and formulation research at the exploratory stage
HTC
PLGA particles produced by microfluidic technology
  • In a exploratory stage with limitations on the volume of active pharmaceutical ingredients provided, we seek out the direction of formulation development that is tailored to the characteristics of the active pharmaceutical ingredient, such as identifying the matching of candidate compounds and formulation technologies of various multimodalities.
  • We are working to provide formulations that maximize the potential of candidate compounds by utilizing an exploratory drug product platform consisting of three major DDS technologies (oral absorption improvement, controlled release and targeting)
  • In order to adapt to diversifying drug discovery trends, we are taking on the challenge of the highly difficult new modality area.

Core Technology

Enhanced oral absorption / Controlled release / Targeting

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