Immune Homeostasis

Our vision for Primary Focus Candidates Immune Homeostasis is to deliver curative therapies for patients suffering from immune-related diseases. Current treatments, such as corticosteroids, are mainly symptomatic treatments that suppress the entire immune response and may cause serious adverse side effects and increased risk of infection. In addition, most autoimmune diseases are chronic and difficult to control and/or cure. Safe and effective treatments that could specifically suppress the pathogenic immune response would represent a significant advancement in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Immune homeostasis is the natural mechanism that maintains the balance between immunogenicity to pathogens and immune tolerance to self. Naturally-occurring immunoregulatory cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells, tolerogenic antigen presenting cells and regulatory T cells, play an important role in maintaining immune homeostasis. Our aim is to develop innovative therapeutics to restore immune equilibrium in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, by leveraging the endogenous homeostatic mechanisms of these immunoregulatory cell types.

Astellas has a long history in research and development of various immunoregulatory drugs in the transplant/immunology field, such as Prograf. Recently, we have acquired and developed capabilities in cell-based therapy as well. We now aim to combine our immunology R&D experience and cell therapy capabilities, to develop novel immunomodulatory cell therapies. In addition, we are exploring innovative technology that can induce endogenous immunoregulatory cells in collaboration with external partners.

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Assets, capabilities, and talents which Astellas wishes to achieve from its partners

We are exploring innovative modality platforms, which can potentially deliver curative therapy for patients with autoimmune diseases. We are focused on the development of ‘off-the-shelf’ immunomodulatory cell therapies and aim to expand and maximize our capabilities through external collaborations.

[Assets and capabilities]

  • Novel immunoregulatory cell therapies
  • New technologies to enhance therapeutic efficacy or applicability of our cells
  • New modalities to induce endogenous immunoregulatory cells (especially those applicable to autoimmune diseases for which the causative antigen is not well-defined)


We are recruiting talented individuals with extensive experience in Research, Development, Regulatory and Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) in cell therapy


Primary Forcus2

Message from Primary Focus Candidates Lead

Shigetada Furukawa, Ph.D.
Vice President

Disease-specific immune regulation is the ultimate goal to cure intractable immune-related diseases. To achieve this, we have formed a cross-functional team consisting of representatives from research, development, manufacturing, marketing and portfolio strategy, and are focusing on developing new technologies and modalities. We are also acutely aware that in order to develop innovative technologies, collaboration with external research partners is essential. Together with our partners we would like to actively promote open innovation to transform cutting-edge scientific advances into VALUE for patients.


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