Society > Together with Patients and Healthcare Professionals Research & Development

Basic Approach to Discovery Research

As one of the world’s oldest pharmaceutical companies, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma has delivered a multitude of unprecedented treatment options. Our history is one of not only eliminating incurability, but also offering treatment options. We will continually create new drugs for the world in response to our new MISSION of “Creating hope for all facing illness.”

Disease Areas

Our focus is on the two priority disease areas of the central nervous system and immuno-inflammation. At the same time, we are addressing new areas and new modalities* for a better future and will identify areas and technologies that will become the pillars that support our future.

*Modality refers to a treatment method, such as small molecule compounds, middle molecules, protein drugs including therapeutic antibodies, as well as nucleic acid drugs and gene therapy.

Drug Discovery Activities

In order to increase opportunities for establishing drug discovery targets and acquiring new technologies, as part of our drug discovery activities, we are creating an environment that makes it easier to generate new synergies, such as Shonan Health Innovation Park (Shonan iPark), and aggressively promoting “Open Shared Business” in collaboration with industry, academia, and government, and we are also leveraging external drug discovery resources.
In addition, we will pursue synergies within the Mitsubishi Chemical Group (the MCG Group) to realize a sustainable society by quickly creating “precision medicines that provide appropriate medical care to appropriate patients at appropriate timing,” which increases the treatment satisfaction of patients and contributes to social security.

Intractable Disease Initiatives

We have created treatment options for intractable diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

Development and provision of therapeutic drugs

Edaravone was developed as a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which causes progressive muscular atrophy and muscle weakness as its principal symptoms. Based on the results of clinical trials in Japan, we obtained approval in Japan, followed by South Korea, the United States, Canada, Switzerland, and Asian countries.

Additionally, edaravone oral suspension, which is intended to reduce patient burden, was approved in the U.S. in May 2022, and the product was launched in June of the same year. In Japan, it was approved for use in December 2022, and launched in April 2023. We are continuously working to expand the number of approved countries to provide our products to more patients and have received approval for use in Canada and Switzerland. Furthermore, we are working to develop around the pill solutions that help improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

New initiatives

Dersimelagon is being developed as a new treatment option for erythropoietic protoporphyria and X-Linked protoporphyria, which cause painful skin symptoms when exposed to sunlight. In 2021, we began clinical trials of Dersimelagon as a treatment for systemic sclerosis, which is a rare disease and characterized by hardening of the skin and internal organs.

Advancing Open Innovation

The environment for the discovery of new drugs is significantly changing, and the difficulty of discovery has increased year after year. In this environment, we are aggressively advancing open innovation to continuously create and provide new drugs that have value for patients and on the medical front lines.

Initiatives of strategic R&D base Shonan iPark

We established a strategic R&D base in Shonan Health Innovation Park (Shonan iPark) in Kanagawa Prefecture in May 2019. We are expanding opportunities to collaborate by forming human networks with resident companies including pharmaceutical companies, drug discovery ventures, drug discovery support services, research equipment and medical equipment, as well as AI and IoT companies. Shonan iPark was established by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. with the opening of its research institute, and in January 2021, we established a framework for sharing some of our internal assessment data with Takeda Pharmaceutical. We seek to improve the productivity and efficiency of drug discovery activities by sharing and using initial assessment data obtained in-house for known compounds.

As indicated in the Medium-Term Management Plan 21-25, Shonan iPark is engaged in drug discovery from disease genes identified for intractable neurological diseases and drug discovery from targeted phenotypic screening by analyzing clinical specimens and patient information on autoimmune diseases.

U.S. satellite research base

In April 2021, the NeuroDiscovery Lab, a satellite research base, was opened in the Smart Lab, which hosts about 40 companies, mainly with pharmaceutical R&D focus, in the Boston area of the U.S., and we have started searching for new drug discovery targets for the central nervous system including ALS. We will aim to realize precision medicine in the central nervous system area through exploration of seeds for early drug discovery research in the Boston Ecosystem, and through acquisition of opportunities for collaboration.

We will continue to play a unique role in addressing global health issues and create synergies with the MCG Group companies. Utilizing MP Healthcare Venture Management, an investment subsidiary, and overseas research bases including Boston Lab, we will conduct a detailed analysis of diseases for which unmet medical needs remain, reform the drug discovery process, and increase open innovation to realize precision medicine so that we provide highly effective treatment to specific patient groups and increase patient satisfaction.

Main Alliance Partners

Date announced Alliance details Alliance partner
December 2021

Establishment of technology for evaluating protein crystal structures using AI(Japanese language only)

Mitsui Information Systems, Inc., Yokohama City University, RIKEN, Kyoto University
February 2022

Progress of joint research collaboration with HitGen to utilize drug discovery platform technology using next-generation compound library

HitGen Inc.

This website uses cookies to provide better content. By browsing this site, you accept our use of cookies.
Privacy Policy