Targeted Protein Degradation

Our aspiration is to deliver disruptive clinical benefit for selected cancer patients by inhibiting pathologic genomic signaling. We will achieve our goal by eliminating critical cancer drivers and providing solution for acquired resistance as well.

Many critical cancer drivers were thought to be “undruggable.” Growing scientific knowledge, and evolution of technology, like PROTAC, shallow pocket and RNA binders enable us to access, eliminate, or reprogram these driver mutations. Increasing number of newly discovered cancer targets expand the potentially addressable cancer types as well. Astellas has established deep R&D and commercial expertise in developing and commercializing targeted medicines to selected patients (erlotinib and gilteritinib).

We are highly focused on building a novel pipeline of targeted medicines as monotherapy, and as combination partners for immune oncology medicines.

Assets, capabilities, and talents, which Astellas wishes to receive from its partners

[Assets and capabilities]

We are building targeted, biology specific drugs, which can potentially deliver meaningful impact on cancer. We originate our research from deep knowledge of cancer biology and expertise in target discovery, small molecule chemistry, clinical development and commercialization. We are looking to further expand and maximize our capabilities and pipeline through additional partnerships and acquisitions – sourced via our highly-active and well-coordinated external innovation, venture and business development teams, strategically located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Bay Area, and in Tokyo, where biotech and life science innovation is booming. 


We are extending our talented teams continuously. If you are interested in working in progressive, innovative teams, in an entrepreneurial diverse environment, please contact us.


Primary Forcus

Message from Primary Focus Candidates Lead

Peter Sandor, M.D., MBA
Senior Vice President 

I believe that cancer can and will be defeated. Success requires determination, partnership and collaboration between the best minds in cancer research and development. We are building teams and a collaboration network, which is determined to make a difference for cancer patients to provide novel, innovative medicines and potentially cure cancer. We have made a strong commitment to Oncology. We believe that our competitive strategy will be successful in developing novel approaches and a strong pipeline, which will help to address unmet patient needs. We continue to expand our network and contribute to partnerships with our knowledge of science and drug development.


Immune Homeostasis

Our vision for Primary Focus Candidates Immune Homeostasis is to deliver curative therapies for patients suffering from immune-related diseases. Current treatments, such as corticosteroids, are mainly symptomatic treatments that suppress the entire immune response and may cause serious adverse side effects and increased risk of infection. In addition, most autoimmune diseases are chronic and difficult to control and/or cure. Safe and effective treatments that could specifically suppress the pathogenic immune response would represent a significant advancement in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Immune homeostasis is the natural mechanism that maintains the balance between immunogenicity to pathogens and immune tolerance to self. Naturally-occurring immunoregulatory cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells, tolerogenic antigen presenting cells and regulatory T cells, play an important role in maintaining immune homeostasis. Our aim is to develop innovative therapeutics to restore immune equilibrium in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, by leveraging the endogenous homeostatic mechanisms of these immunoregulatory cell types.

Astellas has a long history in research and development of various immunoregulatory drugs in the transplant/immunology field, such as Prograf. Recently, we have acquired and developed capabilities in cell-based therapy as well. We now aim to combine our immunology R&D experience and cell therapy capabilities, to develop novel immunomodulatory cell therapies. In addition, we are exploring innovative technology that can induce endogenous immunoregulatory cells in collaboration with external partners.

Click on the banner below to see the Primary Focus summary.


Assets, capabilities, and talents which Astellas wishes to achieve from its partners

We are exploring innovative modality platforms, which can potentially deliver curative therapy for patients with autoimmune diseases. We are focused on the development of ‘off-the-shelf’ immunomodulatory cell therapies and aim to expand and maximize our capabilities through external collaborations.

[Assets and capabilities]

  • Novel immunoregulatory cell therapies
  • New technologies to enhance therapeutic efficacy or applicability of our cells
  • New modalities to induce endogenous immunoregulatory cells (especially those applicable to autoimmune diseases for which the causative antigen is not well-defined)


We are recruiting talented individuals with extensive experience in Research, Development, Regulatory and Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) in cell therapy


Primary Forcus2

Message from Primary Focus Candidates Lead

Shigetada Furukawa, Ph.D.
Vice President

Disease-specific immune regulation is the ultimate goal to cure intractable immune-related diseases. To achieve this, we have formed a cross-functional team consisting of representatives from research, development, manufacturing, marketing and portfolio strategy, and are focusing on developing new technologies and modalities. We are also acutely aware that in order to develop innovative technologies, collaboration with external research partners is essential. Together with our partners we would like to actively promote open innovation to transform cutting-edge scientific advances into VALUE for patients.


Related Links