Tokyo, May 8, 2013 – Astellas Pharma Inc. (Astellas; Tokyo: 4503) today announced its selection results based on a3 (a-cube), a website ( launched on May 17, 2011 with the aim of inviting public participation in joint research for drug discovery from researchers at universities, research institutes and businesses in Japan for the second year (May 1, 2012 - April 30, 2013), as detailed below.
Of 125 applications, 12 were accepted. The adopted research projects have been set in motion in sequence while agreements are concluded.

In May 2013, invitation for public participation in research was started at the global scale. The internationally posted opportunity aims at realizing joint research with overseas researchers who have ideas as beginning seeds that possess a high level of novelty and creativity. In partnership with NineSigma, Inc., USA (NineSigma; Japan office: NineSigma Japan, Inc.; an Ohio, US-based business that supports open innovation, Astellas will seek to accumulate beginnings of drug discovery and of fundamental technology for drug discovery with the use of NineSigma’s global researcher network. This will start with the invitation for applications in several European countries based on the networks of NineSigma and Astellas. Invitation will then be offered in a series of other countries.
Domestic activities will continue to be made through a3 (a-cube), the public innovation site.

Astellas hopes drug discovery opportunities will increase, achievements will be made, and the development pipeline will be bolstered by reinforcing diverse efforts based on open innovation including a3 (a-cube) and international appeal for overseas researchers to participate in research, and conversion of research and development processes into multiple tracks.



Number of applications: 125

Number of adopted applications: 12

Results by program

Program No. of applications No. of adopted applications
A. Setting subjects of studies in advance 116 8
B. Utilizing Astellas’ proprietary compounds 6 3
C. Inviting ideas for solution of technical issues 3 1
Total 125 12

Results by research field

Research field relating to: No. of applications No. of adopted applications
Urology 6 1
Immunology including Transplantation 21 1
Infectious Diseases 4 0
Neuroscience 25 1
DM Complications and Kidney Diseases, Others 15 1
Exploration of new indications of compounds 6 3
Fundamental technology for drug discovery 48 5
Total 125 12

NineSigma, Inc.
NineSigma, Inc. ( was founded in Ohio, USA in 2000 as a corporation supporting the research and development of large-scale manufacturers. The Japan branch was set up in 2006, giving support to open innovation activities (technological exploration) as a Japanese business. Its strength can be found in a database with accumulated data of two million researchers around the world. NineSigma offers technological intermediaries that identify optimal researchers and organizations and call for proposals with the use of the database in accordance with client requests. Other branches are located in Belgium, Australia and South Korea, thereby serving as the world’s largest open innovation service provider.