We will continue to develop new drug candidates for diseases with high unmet medical needs based on our expertise in each biology, modality, and technology that make up the Focus Area. What is particularly noteworthy is that the Focus Area Approach is not fixed, but continuously evolving by adapting its components to reflect the progress of research and development and the latest progress in science and technology. This will allow Astellas to develop its strengths while flexibly and efficiently identifying and realizing new drug discovery opportunities.
Innate Immunity (Innate Lymphoid Cells)
Innate Lymphoid Cells (ILCs) are newly discovered cells of the immune system. Compared to other immune cells, ILCs have superior effector functions, with production of large amounts of cytokines to induce inflammation. On the other hand, they are also known to induce immune tolerance.
If agents that regulate the function of ILCs are found, it is expected to lead to the avoidance of side effects associated with the use of immunosuppressants in addition to the effects that could not be achieved by conventional immunoregulation targeting known immune cells.
Astellas aims to create products that can expect high efficacy against autoimmune and allergic diseases, cancer, etc., which have high unmet medical needs, by utilizing our extensive experience in the field of immunity and the new biology of ILCs with an aim to provide new treatment options.
Many diseases are marked by the accumulation of defective, damaged or no longer required proteins which compromise cellular function.
Autophagy is a key quality control process by which cells eliminate such aberrant proteins.
Potentiating autophagy is a direct way to address the wide range of diseases characterized by defective protein accumulation and is expected as an approach applicable to neurodegeneration, lysosomal storage disorders, renal disease, infectious disease, HIV, cancers, and even some psychiatric disorders.
Astellas utilizes its biochemistry and cell biology expertise in autophagy and aims to provide new safe and effective treatment options to patients who are suffering from various diseases without effective treatments.
Technologies that specifically degrade target proteins, such as utilizing the proteolytic mechanism originally existing in human cells or targeting RNA in the process of target protein production, have received considerable attention in recent years.
Utilizing these technologies is expected to greatly expand the potential of drug discovery for target molecules that were previously identified as the cause of disease but could not be accessed using existing technologies.
Astellas aims to provide new treatment options for patients in diseases with unmet medical needs such as cancer caused by, for example, undruggable oncogenes by combining these protein knockdown technologies with the small molecule drug discovery technology of Astellas.