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.

Assets and capabilities which Astellas wishes to achieve from its partners

  • Novel mechanisms and target molecules to regulate ILCs, including selective activation/inhibition, tolerance induction through ILCs, and control of differentiation/plasticity of ILCs.
  • We are looking for small molecules and antibodies which selectively modulate such a target and control ILCs.



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.

Assets and capabilities which Astellas wishes to achieve from its partners

  • Novel mechanism and target for regulating autophagy.
  • We prefer small molecules that can control that mechanism and target.


Protein Knockdown

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.

Assets and capabilities which Astellas wishes to achieve from its partners

  • Platforms/technologies to improve selectivity to E3 specifically expressed in cancer and pharmacokinetics for oral administration or their know-how.
  • Practical/feasible screening technologies for RNA binders which regulate protein synthesis.
  • Protein degrader or RNA binder for oncogenes and for targets expecting its synergy with these oncogene inhibitors.


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