Drug Discovery

Taiho Pharmaceutical — Embracing the challenge of discovering innovative drugs and bringing genuine smiles to patients and their families.

Our mission is to develop innovative new drugs and deliver them from Japan to patients around the world. We always aim to support complete recovery and to help patients lead disease-free lives, “Today and Every Day.”
Taiho Pharmaceutical is dedicated to leveraging its proprietary drug-discovery platform technologies and innovative research approach to discover new drugs that can support all the people eagerly waiting for a new treatment, all around the world.

The Goal of Taiho Pharmaceutical’s Research

The Discovery and Preclinical Research Division is the core base for drug discovery at Taiho Pharmaceutical. It plays a pivotal role in our high in-house drug discovery rate of approximately 80%. Its mission is to address unmet medical needs and discover novel drugs that have not been applied in clinical practice before, thereby helping to support the curing of diseases. Aiming to provide innovative drugs from Japan to patients worldwide, we leverage our proprietary drug-discovery platform technologies to build a steady pipeline of clinical candidates.
The drug discovery landscape today is changing rapidly, and the industry is facing an era of discontinuity and uncertainty. In order to foster innovation in contexts where optimal solutions are hard to predict, we are constantly striving to upgrade the skills of our research team and our research infrastructure. We are serious about building a world-class research organization in terms of both human and physical resources. About 70% of our drug discovery is focused on the oncology field—research on the causes and treatment of tumors, mainly cancer. Taiho Pharmaceutical has mainly focused on discovering oncology drugs that contribute to expanding the lifespan of patients while reducing adverse side effects, and on non-oncology drugs for symptomatic therapy. However, this approach alone cannot truly free patients from the concerns about their illness. That’s why we have shifted our research toward drug discovery targeting complete recovery. Developing new drugs that can be classified as complete cures is an extremely challenging endeavor. Nevertheless, we embrace this lofty goal, leveraging synergies between our proprietary drug discovery platform technologies and innovative ideas.

Unmet medical needs: Medical needs related to diseases that currently have no effective treatments or indicated drugs, or in more broadly speaking, “unanswered medical challenges.”

Unique Strengths of Taiho Drug Discovery

Taiho Pharmaceutical’s drug-discovery platform serves as an engine for identifying the most promising therapeutic targets for drug discovery, based on experimental data from a diverse range of targets, and it also facilitates the identification of new drug candidate compounds. By collaborating with companies and academic institutions worldwide, we have established our own drug-discovery platform technologies. The differentiator that powers Taiho Pharmaceutical’s drug discovery is our comprehensive research approach driven by a sophisticated integration of these proprietary drug-discovery platforms.
At the core of our approach is Cysteinomix, an innovative drug discovery technique for creating drugs that form covalent bonds with a specific amino acid (cysteine) in target proteins. We recognized the value of Cysteinomix early on and have been building a compound library to identify hit compounds, for over 10 years. Currently, we are actively utilizing Cysteinomix in our drug discovery to address the challenges of refractory cancers with low treatment satisfaction rates, and to pursue new modalities (drug discovery technologies and methods). While working to create new covalent inhibitors, we are also advancing basic research to further enhance Cysteinomix, as we look to expand the scope of potential drug discovery targets.
Meanwhile, at our Translational Research institute, which bridges drug discovery and clinical trials, we are moving forward with our unique brand of translational research by analyzing a wide variety of clinical trial data that have emerged from the extensive clinical pipeline we have already built.

Cysteinomix: Taiho Pharmaceutical’s unique drug-discovery platform technology, which allows for the formation of strong bonds and high target selectivity by covalently binding drugs to the specific cysteine residues of therapeutic target proteins. This technology promises clinical benefits such as low toxicity.

Prospects and Challenges in Drug Discovery Research

Taiho Pharmaceutical’s communication slogan, “Today and Every Day,” embodies our core values. The goal of our drug discovery is to help patients suffering from illnesses to restore their invaluable daily life, Today and Every Day.
We are currently conducting drug discovery research in pursuit of new treatments for refractory cancers such as mutated KRAS gene cancer, pancreatic cancer, and metastatic brain tumors. However, while current anticancer drugs can shrink tumors, it is challenging to achieve complete recovery, even in non-refractory cancers, and patients living with cancer often feel very uneasy and uncertain. This falls short of our vision to support people’s “Today and Every Day” in a way that allows their lives unfold as they wish. We want to be a force that liberates patients from this anxiety, as well. Pursuing the potential of drug discovery that leads to complete recovery is our aim and the prospect we are determined to pursue.
We believe that maximizing value by integrating the drug-discovery platforms we have established will be important to realize difficult drug discovery in the future. For example, in the case of metastatic brain tumors, a drug discovery approach that not only creates inhibitors but also delivers compounds into the brain is crucial. As Taiho Pharmaceutical, we will take on the challenge of what needs to be done, to overcome such unmet medical needs.

KRAS gene: An oncogene that produces the KRAS protein, which plays a role in transmitting signals that promote cell proliferation within cells

Product Pipeline