TOKYO and Boston, MA October 10, 2023 - Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Naoki Okamura, “Astellas”) and BioLabs Global, Inc. (Founder and CEO: Johannes Fruehauf, “BioLabs”) and Mitsui Fudosan (TSE: 8801, President and CEO: Takashi Ueda, “Mitsui Fudosan”) today announced that they have agreed on a tri-party memorandum of understanding to enhance the life science ecosystem in Tsukuba and Kashiwa-no-ha, Japan, world-renowned science hubs. With this agreement, the three companies will partner to advance SakuLabTM-Tsukuba, an open innovation hub launched by Astellas in October 2023, and embark on an exciting journey to accelerate open innovation and enhance the life science ecosystem in Tsukuba, Kashiwa-no-ha and the surrounding areas.
Under this agreement, BioLabs, renowned for its shared laboratories and programing to support life science startups and connect the global life science industry, will support Astellas by bringing its expertise to ensure seamless facility management. It will also co-host networking events for residents and provide them with opportunities to connect with a global life science ecosystem.
Mitsui Fudosan, operates “MITSUI LINK-Lab KASHIWA-NO-HA 1”, a rental lab facility in Kashiwa-no-ha that supports tenants’ open innovation activities. Astellas established TME iLab open innovation hub for research of tumor microenvironment in Mitsui Fudosan’s “MITSUI LINK-Lab KASHIWA-NO-HA 1”. Under this agreement, Astellas and Mitsui Fudosan will collaborate to enhance this planned life science ecosystem in Tsukuba, Kashiwa-no-ha and the surrounding areas.
Astellas will prepare ready-to-use experimental facilities for SakuLabTM-Tsukuba in its Tsukuba Research Center, one of their flagship research centers. It will support academia and startups working on innovation by leveraging its drug discovery capabilities and provide networking opportunities between residents and Astellas researchers.
SakuLabTM is the branding name for Astellas’ global open innovation hubs. The name "SakuLabTM" derives its inspiration from the Japanese words "Saku," meaning blooming, and "Sakura," referring to the beloved cherry blossoms which have long been a symbol of new beginnings in Japanese culture. Similarly, at SakuLabTM, Astellas aspires to create a place where researchers can take the next step, an environment where diverse minds and scientific excellence converge, and where ideas flourishes into groundbreaking healthcare solutions that will make a difference in patients’ lives worldwide.
Yoshitsugu Shitaka, Chief Scientific Officer (CScO) of Astellas
"Astellas is committed to growing and developing innovative ideas and technologies with academia and startups by providing knowledge and experience gained through research and our global network. We strongly support the growth of academic seeds and startups; we contribute to the development of the life science ecosystem in each region with strategic partnerships, joint research opportunities and investments in open laboratories. With this agreement, we envision our labs in Tsukuba and Kashiwa-no-ha to be where visionary ideas and specialized knowledge converge, turbocharging the development of pioneering healthcare solutions."
Johannes Fruehauf, Founder and CEO of BioLabs
“BioLabs is thrilled to be partnering with Astellas and Mitsui Fudosan to continue expanding BioLabs’ global network in Japan. In support of our shared mission to accelerate the commercialization of cutting-edge innovations that improve the lives of patients, we will work together to develop the life science innovation ecosystem in the Tsukuba area.”
Kazunori Yamashita, Executive Managing Officer, General Manager, Mitsui Fudosan
“We sincerely welcome the opening of the SakuLabTM-Tsukuba following TME iLab in Kashiwa-no-ha. In the Kashiwa-no-ha area, the construction of a smart city is progressing through public-private-academic collaboration, and in the life science field, the creation of an innovation-generating ecosystem is underway, including medical and healthcare-related initiatives through cross-sectional collaboration among academia and companies, and the formation of communities to support the social implementation of R&D seeds. We hope that our new partnership will accelerate the linkage between these communities and ecosystems and the Tsukuba area.”
Astellas has already reflected the impact from this agreement in its financial forecast of the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2024.
- Located on the premises of Astellas’ Tsukuba Research Center, it has expandable facilities and equipment and accepts external innovators including startups and academia.
- Residents will be provided with experimental facilities, research support that leverages Astellas' drug discovery capabilities, and opportunities to network with other users and Astellas researchers.
- It is equipped with ready-to-use experimental equipment that allows biological (P1/BSL2) and chemical experiments and is also planned to develop facilities to accommodate experiments across drug discovery processes. An Astellas researcher will provide lab users with support for use of facilities and equipment.
- The lab is located in Tsukuba City, which is part of the Greater Tokyo Biocommunity, and is home to over 30 public research institutions and over 20,000 researchers. At Astellas’ Tsukuba Research Center, Research and Technology & Manufacturing functions are engaged in research and development of small molecule drugs, antibody drugs, gene therapy, cell therapy, and other fields.
Inquiries for lab application:
Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into VALUE for patients. For more information, please visit our website at https://www.astellas.com/en.
BioLabs is the definitive growth partner for science-based entrepreneurs, empowering companies to accelerate their science, grow their business, and have a lasting impact on the world. The BioLabs difference is in their sector-defining ecosystem: delivering best-in-class lab space, essential business services, a powerful network of innovators and guides who offer “been-there” insight, and site teams with unparalleled experience guiding founders through the operational complexities of growing a biotech company. BioLabs centers are located in key innovation hubs across North America, Europe, and now expanding to Japan.
About Mitsui Fudosan
Mitsui Fudosan is a comprehensive real estate developer that strives to solve social issues and create new value through urban development. Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City is an intellectual cluster of Japan's leading academia and medical facilities. In addition to Mitsui Link-Lab Kashiwa-no-ha 1 and Mitsui Garden Hotel Kashiwa-no-ha Park Side, a hotel that supports cancer patients located on the grounds of the National Cancer Center Hospital East, a variety of other facilities, including offices, commercial facilities, and a mobility field, create a bustling atmosphere. Through public-private-academic collaboration, the Smart City is also actively engaged in verification experiments utilizing startup and university technologies. (Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City: https://www.kashiwanoha-smartcity.com/)
Cautionary Notes (Astellas)
In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management’s current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas’ intellectual property rights by third parties.
Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development) which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.
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