Tokyo, Japan, July 30, 2012 – Tokyo Institute of Technology (“Tokyo-Tech”) and Astellas Pharma Inc. (Tokyo:4503,“Astellas”) announced on July 30 that they have signed a joint research agreement for drug discovery research utilizing Tokyo-Tech’s TSUBAME2.0 supercomputer to efficiently discover candidates for the treatment of diseases caused by protozoan parasites.
Worldwide, many therepeutic areas with high unmet medical needs still remain that patients cannot be treated satisfactorily, such as neglected tropical diseases (“NTDs”) which pose public health problems on a global scale. International efforts are ongoing against NTDs, and this joint research aims to contribute to the drug discovery for the treatment of diseases caused by protozoan parasites, such as leishmaniasis, chagas disease and sleeping sickness in NTDs.
Under this agreement, a research group led by Masakazu Sekijima, Ph.D., associate professor at the Global Scientific Information and Computing Center, Tokyo-Tech and Astellas will cooperate in drug discovery for the treatment of diseases caused by protozoan parasites. This research will be conducted in two steps. In the first step, data mining of public information such as patents and published articles will be carried out to obtain useful and effective knowledge about the drug discovery for the treatments for diseases caused by protozoan parasites. In the second step, in-silico screening will be performed to identify compounds which are predicted to have anti-protozoan activities. Tokyo-Tech boasts Japan’s first petaflop class supercomputer TSUBAME2.0, and will assume responsibility for data mining and for in-silico screening calculations of commercially available compounds. Astellas will be responsible for preparing input data for data mining, selecting, and listing of compounds to be evaluated based on the in-silico screening calculations, thereby implementing efficient drug discovery in a short time period.
Tokyo-Tech and Astellas will work together to discover drugs in a short time period for patients suffering from NTDs caused by protozoan parasites, through their joint research efforts aiming to contribute to improve global public health problems.