Chugai’s research operations feature three unparalleled strengths in areas including research technologies as well as a global research network.
1. Research Focused on Groundbreaking Projects
One of Chugai’s strategic advantages is its ability to concentrate resources on innovative research. With a development pipeline that includes projects in-licensed from Roche and projects from our own research, we are able to maintain a robust R&D portfolio. Moreover, conducting global development of our projects in collaboration with Roche enables us to focus personnel and funds on groundbreaking projects and create a steady succession of innovative drugs. In the early conceptual and research stages, including basic research, in addition to making in-house efforts we acquire new candidate compounds by making use of our external network. To continuously generate our own projects as part of the Roche Group, we need to create products that have value equal to or higher than the projects originating at Roche and Genentech. This is also a driving force behind our innovation.
2. Technology Cultivated Over Many Years
Drug discovery technologies, largely antibody engineering technologies, are Chugai’s core competence. We are focused on development of competitive proprietary technologies that are necessary to fill areas of unmet medical need. This leads to the generation of innovative medicines. Chugai began conducting research and development of biopharmaceuticals more than 30 years ago, and the former Nippon Roche had also established world-class technology for the discovery of chemically synthesized agents. Over the years, we have cultivated knowledge and experience through our own pioneering initiatives while also incorporating outside technologies. As a result, we have continuously evolved our technologies, and have built a technology platform that we can flexibly and appropriately apply to drug discovery.
This disciplined approach to research and technology has become Chugai’s identity. In the relationships we are building with our research and development partners, including Roche and academia, we recognize each other’s technological strengths and expertise, which leads to valuable discussions. In the new mid-term business plan, we have selected middle molecules as a next-generation core candidate technology in addition to antibody engineering technologies and small molecules. We intend to invest heavily in this area to establish technologies and quickly generate new projects.
Mechanisms of antibody therapeutics and an introduction to Chugai’s next-generation antibody engineering technologies
3. Strong External Network and Global Research Infrastructure
Backed by our competitive technological strengths, we have established our research structure in an open innovation*1 environment. We are building a productive external network by steadily pursuing joint research with academic institutions in which we provide our highly useful drug discovery technologies and expertise while they share their new discoveries with us. In May 2016, we concluded a comprehensive collaboration agreement for advanced research in immunology with the Osaka University Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC).
In addition, we have established and operate satellite labs (research subsidiaries) whose mission is to conduct exploratory research, which does not typically produce short-term results but is important for the medium and long term. Another key advantage is our access to Roche’s global research infrastructure. The ability to share Roche’s research resources and infrastructure, which include a rich compound library for use in high throughput screening,*2 is a significant advantage for Chugai in terms of cost and efficiency, and has dramatically increased our research productivity.
- *1 Generating innovative, new value by utilizing the technologies and development capabilities of external research networks in addition to in-house capabilities
- *2 A technology that conducts evaluations at a high speed with automated robots or other means to select chemical compounds having activities for drug creation targets from a library consisting of a vast number of compound types with various structures