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Nagasaki University and Astellas Launch Collaborative Research for Screening New Anti-Dengue Virus Drugs for Neglected Tropical Diseases

2013年03月21日 PM04:25
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NAGASAKI, Japan & TOKYO

The Nagasaki University (“Nagasaki University“; Nagasaki, Japan; President: Shigeru Katamine) and Astellas Pharma Inc. (“Astellas“)(TOKYO:4503)(President and CEO: Yoshihiko Hatanaka) today announced that they have signed a collaborative research agreement to discover new drugs for the treatment of neglected tropical diseases (“NTDs”) caused by dengue virus. This is the second execution of a collaborative research agreement on NTDs after the Nagasaki University and Astellas signed the previous one to discover new drugs for the treatment of NTDs caused by protozoan parasites on November 12, 2012.

NTDs, prevalent mainly in tropical areas of developing countries, are infectious diseases spread by parasites, bacteria or viruses. As it is estimated that approximately one billion people are affected with NTDs worldwide, NTDs are a serious healthcare issue that is being addressed on a global scale. Among them, diseases caused by dengue virus, such as dengue fever/dengue hemorrhagic fever are with high unmet medical needs for treatment and development of new therapeutic drugs. There is no existing drug to treat dengue fever/dengue hemorrhagic fever in the market as well as under development, and the effectiveness of some vaccines to prevent dengue virus currently under development is unclear at this time.

Under the collaborative agreement, the Institute of Tropical Medicine at Nagasaki University (“NEKKEN“), which is one of the leading research institutes on tropical infectious diseases in Japan, and Astellas will cooperate on a drug-discovery research project. Astellas will provide multiple compounds with possible anti-dengue virus activities, and NEKKEN will evaluate these compounds in experimental model of infections with dengue virus for dengue fever/dengue hemorrhagic fever. The research will be advanced with advice from Professor Kouichi Morita, M.D., Ph.D., at the Department of Virology in NEKKEN, who is a key opinion leader on tropical infection research in Japan.
The collaborative research is largely divided into two phases. In the first phase (first screening), the anti-dengue virus activities and cytotoxic activities of compounds will be measured in vitro. In the second phase (second screening), compounds found to be with anti-dengue virus activities in the first screening will be tested for in vivo activity by evaluating drug efficiency in animals infected with the dengue virus.

The Nagasaki University and Astellas will work together to accelerate the discovery of new drugs for patients suffering from dengue fever/dengue hemorrhagic fever in the world, through their collaborative research aiming to contribute to improve global public health problems.

Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University (“NEKKEN”)
The Institute of Tropical Medicine at Nagasaki University (“NEKKEN”) is the only public sector institute for researching tropical diseases that is supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT), which authorized it as the National Collaborative Research Center on Tropical Disease. NEKKEN engages in a wide range of research from basic to applied, on NTDs (parasite infections, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, sleeping sickness, and dengue fever), malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis, and emerging infections mainly derived from zoonotic infections, such as viral hemorrhagic fever, etc. It has a 70-year history and is recognized by the World Health Organization as a WHO Collaborating Center for Tropical and Emerging Viral Infections. NEKKEN also participates in the National BioResource Project, under which it is responsible for the field of pathogenic protozoa and maintains and manages pathogenic agents to be used for research. In 2005, NEKKEN set up educational research stations in Kenya and Vietnam to further accelerate its clinical and epidemiological research. In 2011, it established the Department of Clinical Product Development and began full-scale development of drugs and vaccines for NTDs.
http://www.tm.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/nekken/english/index.html

Astellas Pharma Inc. (Astellas)
Astellas’ raison d’etre is to contribute toward improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. Astellas has approximately 17,000 employees worldwide. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in Urology, Immunology (including Transplantation) and Infectious Diseases, Oncology, Neuroscience and DM Complications and Kidney Diseases. For more information on Astellas Pharma Inc., please visit the company website at http://www.astellas.com/en/

CONTACT

Contacts for inquiries or additional
information:

Nagasaki University
Norio
Fukao,
+81-95-819-2007
Center for Public Relations Strategy
fukao@nagasaki-u.ac.jp
or
Institute
of Tropical Medicine

Kouichi Morita, +81-95-819-7829
M.D.,
Ph.D.

Department of Virology
moritak@nagasaki-u.ac.jp
or
Astellas
Pharma Inc.

Corporate Communications
Tel:
+81-3-3244-3201
Fax: +81-3-5201-7473
http://www.astellas.com/en

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