Introduction to Companies in Osaka
AntiCancer Japan Inc.
Interviews with foreign investors in Osaka
QCould you give us an overview of AntiCancer Incorporated of the US?
AntiCancer Incorporated is a bio-venture company established in 1984 by Dr. Robert M Hoffman, professor at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. The company is engaged in the research, development, and sale of anticancer drugs and diagnostic agents.
QHow did AntiCancer Japan, Inc. come to be established in Japan?
In September 2005, we decided to set up our office inside Saito Bio Incubator, a science park in Ibaraki City, Osaka Prefecture. The US Head Office has long regarded business activities in Japan as important, and, in consideration of the future potential of biotechnologies and the pharmaceutical market in Japan, we established AntiCancer Japan Inc. as of November 27, 2006, and launched full-scale business operations.
In April 2007, we built a P2-level research facility inside Bio Incubator, and opened a laboratory named AntiCancer Japan Inc. Molecular Imaging Lab. Here, we engage in research, development, and joint research on in vivo small-animal imaging that uses fluorescent proteins (green fluorescent protein, or GFP, and red fluorescent protein, or RFP), our proprietary technology. The lab also displays small-animal models.
QWhat kind of business is AntiCancer Japan Inc. engaged in?
We are engaged in:
- Contract research and joint research on the evaluation of anticancer drugs using mouse models of human cancer metastasis, labeled with fluorescent proteins, as well as licensing of this technology;
- Research and development, as well as joint research of cancer imaging technology;
- Development, manufacture and sale of optical image diagnostic devices;
- Research, development, sales and licensing of transgenic mice for use in anticancer drug research and experiments;
- Research and development as well as joint research related to biotechnology;
- All business operations related to each of the above items.
We have also licensed out to Miraca Holdings, Inc. a technology which we call HDRA, which is a method of assessing and optimizing, in vitro, anticancer drugs for cancer patients. This technology, which was developed by AntiCancer Incorporated of the US, is currently being used by Miraca.
On the other hand, in vivo imaging, a technology that uses fluorescent proteins to label cancer and normal cells to observe and study, from outside the body, cancer growth and metastasis, as well as other in vivo changes in the living mouse, was licensed out to Eisai Co., Ltd. and Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd., and is being used in their research.
QWhat advantages do you feel you have gained from setting up your office inside Saito Bio Incubator?
An environment is being steadily fostered at Saito with the aim of creating a nexus of bio-related research facilities. We felt that it was a location ideally suited for building a P2-level research facility to handle experimental animals. Another of its advantages is that the facilities themselves are clean and attractive.
Also, although the US Head Office handles mainly contract research, we feel that, in Japan, collaboration with universities, public research institutions and pharmaceutical companies is important. I think that Saito’s location, close to both Osaka University and Kyoto University, makes it extremely convenient. And, by setting up an office inside Saito Bio Incubator, we have been able to network with other bio-related corporate tenants. This is another of our location’s advantages. The US Head Office is very pleased with our choice of Osaka.
QWhat are your future plans for business in Osaka?
Right now, we license out in vivo imaging technology using fluorescent proteins, and sell related measuring devices. We now intend to approach universities and pharmaceutical-related companies from both the hardware and software aspects to make our in vivo imaging technologies available for their R&D. We plan to do this by combining the supply of both measuring devices (hardware) and cancer cells (software) labeled with fluorescent proteins such as GFP and RFP.
As for in vivo imaging, I believe that “Seeing is believing.” It is most important to be able to see for oneself what an actual product is. I strongly urge pharmaceutical companies and research institutions to visit out Molecular Imaging Lab, which also functions as a showroom.