Tokyo, May 11, 2016 - the Institute of Medical Science, the University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Dean: Yoshinori Murakami, “IMSUT”) and Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Yoshihiko Hatanaka, “Astellas”) today announced that they have signed an agreement for expansion of the scope of collaborative research utilizing the rice-based oral vaccine “MucoRice” (“MucoRice”) to viral gastroenteritis diarrhea*1including norovirus*2 infection.

MucoRice is a rice-based oral vaccine genetically expressing antigens and suppressing the endogenous rice storage protein, which was developed by Prof. Hiroshi Kiyono, Project researcher Yoshikazu Yuki and their colleagues at International Research and Development Center for Mucosal Vaccines in IMSUT.

Since 2016, IMSUT and Astellas have been engaged in the project for collaborative research on vaccines against cholera*3 and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli*4 utilizing MucoRice system. MucoRice is the rice-based oral vaccine which activates the mucosal immune system in the intestine and induces a protective immunity. Thus, the scope of collaborative research will be expanded to viral gastroenteritis diarrhea*1 including norovirus*2 infection where unmet medical needs remain.

Through this collaborative research project, IMSUT and Astellas will promote research on vaccines against infectious diseases seriously affecting social life and new treatments, and attempt to develop the new drug discovery technology platform for development of innovative new drugs and hope we can address unmet medical needs.