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

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

    - Selection of Potential Compounds by Evaluation of Anti-Dengue Virus
                                 Activities -

Business Wire

NAGASAKI, Japan & TOKYO -- March 21, 2013

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,

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.

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


Contacts for inquiries or additional information:
Nagasaki University
Norio Fukao, +81-95-819-2007
Center for Public Relations Strategy
Institute of Tropical Medicine
Kouichi Morita, +81-95-819-7829
M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Virology
Astellas Pharma Inc.
Corporate Communications
Tel: +81-3-3244-3201
Fax: +81-3-5201-7473
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