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May 08, 2020

Chugai and A*STAR Begin Joint Research on a Therapeutic Antibody to Fight COVID-19

TOKYO, May 8, 2020 --Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TOKYO: 4519) announced today that Chugai Pharmabody Research Pte. Ltd. (CPR), a research center of the Chugai Group in Singapore, has begun joint research on a therapeutic antibody to fight COVID-19, with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore.

This joint research project focuses on a potential therapeutic antibody for COVID-19 that was discovered by a research team led by Senior Principal Investigator Dr. Cheng-I Wang at A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN). Lead candidates were isolated from a high diversity synthetic human antibody library and showed high potency in neutralizing live coronavirus which causes COVID-19. CPR will lead the antibody optimization with its world-leading antibody research capability, and by applying Chugai’s proprietary antibody engineering technologies, create a clinical candidate antibody.

“Our history of collaboration with Chugai has set the stage for our latest partnership, which leverages A*STAR’s capabilities in immunology and translational research, and Chugai’s expertise in innovative pharmaceuticals,” said Professor Ng Huck Hui, Assistant Chief Executive, Biomedical Research Council, A*STAR. “We are very pleased to collaborate with Chugai in this dedicated endeavor to develop potential treatments for COVID-19,” he added.

“Chugai’s mission is to realize innovation for the benefit of the medical community and human health around the world. Our antibody research capabilities are at the heart of our commitment to innovation as demonstrated by creating innovative medicines and developing proprietary technologies,” said Dr. Osamu Okuda, Chugai's President and COO. “The outbreak of novel coronavirus is the most devastating threat that people around the world have faced for decades. I am thrilled that Chugai can join forces with A*STAR in the global effort to help address this threat, and hope that together we can open the possibility of clinical use as soon as possible.”

Successful past collaborations between A*STAR and Chugai have included an antibody research project in dengue fever under a grant by the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund).

About Chugai Pharmabody Research Pte. Ltd. (CPR)
Chugai Pharmabody Research (CPR) was established in Singapore as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (“Chugai”), Japan’s leading research-based pharmaceutical company, in January 2012. CPR conducts research on the generation of new antibody drug clinical candidates focusing on high value First-in-Class and Best-in-Class antibodies for a variety of targets, and utilizing Chugai’s proprietary innovative antibody engineering technologies such as the Recycling Antibody, Sweeping Antibody, and Switch Antibody technologies. Since 2018, they are also working on the development of novel antibody engineering technologies as well.
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About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector R&D agency, spearheading economic-oriented research to advance scientific discovery and develop innovative technology. Through open innovation, we collaborate with our partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. Our research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by contributing to societal benefits such as improving outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability. We play a key role in nurturing and developing a diversity of talent and leaders in our Agency and research entities, the wider research community and industry. A*STAR’s R&D activities span biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering, with research entities primarily located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis. For ongoing news, visit
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About A*STAR’s Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN)
The Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), established in 2006, is a research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)’s Biomedical Research Council. SIgN’s mission is to advance human immunology research, contribute to scientific knowledge and make innovative discoveries to improve lives, combat major health problems and further socio-economic growth. SIgN is committed to translate research findings into clinical and commercial applications, in partnership with clinics and industry. SIgN’s key scientific thrusts are Infection and Immunity, Cancer Immunology and Inflammation. The Research thrusts are supported by cutting-edge technology platforms such as the human antibody and clinical Immunomonitoring platforms. SIgN is dedicated to nurturing and training young scientists by supporting various activities that promote analytical thinking and collaborative spirit.
For more information about SIgN, please visit


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