A new London-Japan partnership to understand why devastating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s or Motor Neurone Disease develop and how they can be disrupted will be announced today by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson during his trade mission to Japan
- Takeda and UCL announce new partnership to target gene mutations
- New report shows Japan is the second biggest life sciences investor in London and the greater south east over the past 10 years
The new partnership between Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE: 4502), Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company, and UCL (University College London), regularly ranked as one of the world’s top 10 universities, focuses on identifying and understanding the role genes and genetic mutations play in these diseases so that they can be targeted with more effective new treatments.
The partnership will see Takeda and UCL scientists working side by side across a range of pre-clinical drug discovery areas, including bioinformatics, molecular biology and pharmacology. The collaboration has also received funding support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.
Takeda is a major international investor in London’s life sciences industry, with a development centre in central London as well as a presence in other areas of England, including its research site in Cambridge, which initiated the collaboration with UCL to enhance its work to discover treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Takeda Cambridge is also actively researching novel therapies in multiple therapeutic areas
The announcement coincides with a new report from PwC’s Strategy& released today which shows that Japan is the second largest overseas investor in the life sciences sector of England’s greater south east region, with £160m invested over the last 10 years. The report, which is based on interviews with senior figures in nine leading Japanese pharmaceutical companies, finds that the top reasons cited for the region’s popularity is the presence of international talent and top universities, its strong ecosystem of large and small companies, and its favourable business environment, from labour laws to intellectual property.
The partnership and report are unveiled by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson at BioJapan, Asia’s leading biotechnology event, attracting thousands of representatives from some 700 of the world’s leading bioscience companies every year. He will give the keynote speech at the opening night networking reception and celebrate the world-leading life sciences sector of London and the greater south east – home to 1,896 life sciences companies generating £16.6 billion annually and employing 62,855 people UK-wide.*
The Mayor is joined at BioJapan by MedCity, an organisation that he launched in April 2014 to promote and lead the growth of the world-leading life sciences cluster of London and the greater south east.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
“London is a world-leading scientific city with some of the greatest universities in the world, at the very forefront of the drive to understand terrible, life-altering diseases and how they can be stopped. Working with global partners is a crucial part of turning research breakthroughs into better treatments, and I’m absolutely delighted that Takeda is deepening its commitment to London through this partnership.”
Dr. Tetsuyuki Maruyama, General Manager of Takeda’s Pharmaceutical Research Division, said:
“At Takeda, we work with partners to accelerate innovation. We are looking forward to collaborating with UCL’s world-class researchers. This cooperation will help us to identify and validate novel therapeutic pathways in central nervous system diseases, which is one of Takeda’s core therapeutic areas – ultimately leading to new treatments for patients suffering from neurodegenerative disorders.”
UCL’s agreement with Takeda complements its alliance with Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai, launched three years ago to develop new ways of treating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur said:
“Our alliance with Eisai was a crucial step in UCL’s drive to develop new therapies for neurodegeneration. This drive is mirrored in other fields of research and is exemplified by the collaborative nature of UCL’s research, particularly in partnering with industry. This partnership between UCL and Takeda is a very exciting development. UCL has a long and successful track record of working with companies in Japan and we are keen to build on this further across all areas of research.”
MedCity will use its presence at BioJapan to launch a major new drive to promote cell therapy collaborations between the UK and Japan, in partnership with London & Partners and the GREAT Britain campaign**.
The campaign includes a new report and video showcasing the excellence of London and the Greater South East in cell therapy and regenerative medicine, with contributions from companies including Takeda and Pfizer, research centres including Oxford and Cambridge universities, Osaka University, University College London, King’s College London and the Cell Therapy Catapult, and UK Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman.
Dr Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity, says:
“I’m absolutely delighted to be bringing some of our most exciting biotechs to Japan to showcase the innovative, diverse ways that cell therapies are being developed and commercialised in the UK. With Japan also having such a strong track record and commitment to this field, there are huge opportunities for us to work together to fast-track a potentially game-changing new science.”
Notes to editors
*Research produced by Trampoline Systems and SQW for the Greater London Authority.
**Stem cells are cells that have the ability to renew themselves by dividing, and have the potential to develop into many different cell types. In many tissues they act as an internal repair system, dividing without limit to replenish other cells. This gives them enormous potential for treating a wide range of diseases and for repairing damaged organs. Cell therapy research is pushing forward our understanding of how they work and how they can be used in cell-based therapies or regenerative medicine.
Collaborating for success in Cambridge, London, Oxford, and South East of England – the view of Japanese pharma was produced for MedCity by PwC’s Strategy& in the UK and PwC in Japan.
MedCity at BioJapan
The MedCity delegation to BioJapan includes:
• Dr Eliot Forster, Executive Chair, MedCity
• Sarah Haywood, Chief Operating Officer, MedCity
• Professor Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing, University College London
• Professor Adrian Thrasher, Professor of Paediatric Immunology, University College London
• Hidetoshi Hoshiya, Transactions Manager, Cell Therapy Catapult
• Michael Bennett, Head of Transactions and Intellectual Property, Cell Therapy Catapult
UK companies joining the delegation:
• CIMYM BioSciences
• Curileum Discovery Ltd
• Desktop Genetics Ltd
• Genetic Microdevices Ltd
• Imanova Ltd
• Kanteron Systems
• Plasticell LTD
About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda (TSE: 4502) is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website: www.takeda.com.
Takeda Cambridge: www.takedacam.com
About UCL (University College London)
UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 35,000 students from 150 countries and over 11,000 staff. Our annual income is more than £1 billion.
Established by the Mayor of London with the capital’s three Academic Health Science Centres – Imperial College Academic Health Centre, King’s Health Partners, and UCL Partners – MedCity is a unique collaboration that brings together the outstanding life sciences strengths of London and the greater south east.
Over the next 20 years, MedCity will position the region as a world-leading, interconnected hub for research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation by championing collaboration and entrepreneurship, promoting a joined up and globally distinct life sciences offer, and providing a visible ‘go-to’ point for industry and investors.