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TOP > Video Feature > Keiichi Masuya, Ph.D.

Vol.6,February 2016

Keiichi Masuya, Ph.D.

Vice President : Head Of Chemistry PeptiDream Inc.

Background

PeptiDream Inc. is a privately-held company based on novel technologies to generate highly versatile peptides from amino acids which were developed by Professor Hiroaki Suga of Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo.

Thanks to the technologies collectively known as Peptide Discovery Platform System (PDPS), a wide variety of peptides can be easily generated from amino acids, which has not been possible with conventional technologies.

PDPS allows for the generation of trillions or even quadrillions of peptides in a significantly short period, which are then screened for identification of leads for new drug development.

Our Clients

Based on PDPS, we have concluded a collaboration agreement with 12 leading pharmaceutical companies worldwide, thereby having approximately 50 projects under development.

Specifically, after signing our first collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca of the UK in 2008, we have partnered with major pharmaceutical companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb (US), Amgen (US), Novartis (Switzerland) for which I formerly worked, GlaxoSmithKline (UK), Merck (US), Sanofi (France), and Teijin Pharma (Japan).

The number of our partner companies (i.e. clients) is expected to reach twenty in the next few years. We believe that a number of innovative drugs will be developed through these partnerships not in the distant future.

Advantage of PDPS

PDPS applies to virtually all therapeutic areas ranging from oncology, a central nervous system to infectious diseases, addressing diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, malaria, Ebola and influenza. Applying to all therapeutic areas is a great advantage of PDPS.

In fact, target therapeutic areas differ among our clients: one company focuses on anticancer drug, one on a drug for treatment of influenza, another on anti-Alzheimer’s drug, and so on. Collectively, virtually all therapeutic areas are covered by our proprietary PDPS.

Targeting Unaddressed Diseases

Two major categories of conventional drugs are an oral drug, the most familiar to us, and antibody drug that is administered by injection or infusion for treatment of cancer, etc. Peptide-based Therapeutics is known to have advantages of these drug categories while covering their shortcomings.

In other words, peptide therapeutics can target diseases and medical conditions which have not been addressed by conventional drugs, thereby attracting significant interest during the last five to ten years.

Novel Technologies

There are numerous pharmaceutical companies in the world. How many new drugs are launched worldwide every year? Perhaps the number of new drugs entering the market each year is only a few.

A number of innovative drugs have been developed to satisfy diverse medical needs. However, huge unmet medical needs remain to be addressed. Such needs are associated with diseases that are difficult to cure with existing drugs. For example, there is an increasing need for drugs to treat Alzheimer’s diseases, hepatitis, and other liver diseases.

What is needed in order to develop new drugs to treat such diseases are new technologies to identify and optimize a lead compound which will be developed into an innovative drug to meet unmet medical needs.

Identification and optimization of a lead compound to address unmet medical needs is a challenge that many pharmaceutical companies are confronted with. In these circumstances, we can help these companies discover novel and optimize compounds, which has never been achieved with conventional technologies. We can expand the frontier of new drug development with our PDPS.

Economic Benefit and Contribution to the Society

The economic benefit that PDPS can generate is enormous; the cost associated with lead identification and optimization will, we believe, be one-fifths to eighths or even one-tenths compared with the current level.

Our corporate mission is to contribute to the society by delivering inexpensive novel peptide-based therapeutics to patients as quickly as possible and providing such drugs to the impoverished people who have no access to drugs, thereby addressing unmet medical needs and improving the quality of life of patients worldwide.

Challenges

Since peptide-based therapeutics represent a novel class of therapeutic agent, how they are recognized by the regulatory authorities, e.g. the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) in Japan and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, holds the key to their successful launch.

It is critical that such drugs are appropriately recognized and their new drug application review process by the regulatory authorities proceeds smoothly so that affordable drugs can be delivered to those who need them in a timely manner.

In other words, in addition to ensure quality and scientific integrity of data for approval application, it is important to make sure that the regulatory review process is carried out smoothly.

In these circumstances, it is necessary to provide information on peptide-based therapeutics to the regulatory authorities in advance to promote their correct understanding of the drugs. We believe it is our role to lead such activities.

Many pharmaceutical companies may confront similar issues when seeking regulatory approval for peptide-based therapeutics. In order to avoid such issues, we will approach the regulatory authorities including MHWL and FDA in advance to ensure that such drugs are correctly understood and appropriately handled.

Reasons Why Moving to King Skyfront

The main reason is the fact that PeptiDream is a company based on technologies of Professor Suga of the University of Tokyo. The biggest advantage of being based in Tokyo or its suburbs is an excellent transportation access to both domestic and foreign destinations. Proximity to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) and Narita Airport and public transportation hubs including JR Tokyo and Shinagawa stations is our important requirement.

We were also attracted by the fact that King Skyfront is an International Strategic Zone to which abundant support is provided by the Japanese government and where many companies and research institutions are located.

We strongly hope to interact and collaborate with these companies and research institutions for future mutual growth. King Skyfront will be a place to pool wisdom of Japan where major companies from various industries get together. Novel ideas and approaches will be generated from interactions among these companies. We firmly believe King Skyfront is an ideal place for PeptiDream.

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