We opened Tohoku University Renascience Open Innovation Labo (TREx) in the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine Medicinal Hub (Building No.5 of School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryocho, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan) in January 2022. We are pleased to announce that the interview about TREx was posted on Sendai City Official Website under “Voices from Companies: WE KNOW SENDAI”.
Please see the following link for the article by Sendai City.
The following is a supplemental explanation of the background and achievement of TREx and the characteristics of Renascience’s research and development (R&D).
At the time of founding, we had a research laboratory in the National Strategic special Zone for Biotechnology in Kanagawa, which included facilities for breeding animal models of kidney diseases. Later, as the scope of our research expanded from kidney diseases to many other disease areas and the research stage progressed from basic research to clinical trials, we closed our original laboratory for animal models of kidney disease. However, we considered that R&D needs a “place” to utilize cutting-edge scientific and technological achievements in many disease areas, a “place” for face-to-face interactions with physicians and researchers, and a “place” for open innovation with the government and medical industry companies in addition to the function of conducting experiments. We therefore decided to open TREx after going public. TREx is the very first project to establish a strategic hub based on the “Agreement on Development of Regional Economic between Sendai City and Tohoku University” executed in April 2021.
TREx has achieved so far:
1) Accelerated collaboration among different specialists including researchers at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, physicians at Tohoku University Hospital, companies participating in the Medicinal Hub, and the government;
2) Promotion of the existing development pipelines and acquisition of several novel research seeds;
3) Conducting investigator-initiated clinical trials, acquiring medical data, acquiring public funds, and planning application strategies for product approval, very efficiently and quickly;
and, 4) Development and maintenance of human resources.
These results have further accelerated the efficiency of R&D at Renascience, and it is our very strength.
Renascience intends to focus on collaborations with universities other than Tohoku University in the future and plans to establish R&D bases that take advantage of the unique characteristics and strengths of individual universities. In the past, many pharmaceutical companies and drug discovery biotechs have adopted the strategy of building the entire value chain of the pipeline (i.e., building up all the processes of development) in-house to increase business value. However, in areas such as pharmaceuticals, the probability of success is extremely low, development lead-time is long, and investment is significant, R&D and business risks are high. Therefore, it is essential to form a portfolio that combines many pipelines and diversifies risks. Large pharmaceutical companies with abundant money can develop their pipelines within the traditional framework of forming the entire value chain on their own, but for biotech companies without such resources, it is quite difficult to develop multiple pipelines within such a framework. To solve this problem, we have been practicing low-cost and highly efficient development by utilizing the resources of external organizations (research institutes and medical institutions). In other words, we intend to build the value chain through alliances utilizing our extensive network of universities and other research institutions, medical institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and other external organizations, and therefore Renascience is totally different from traditional drug discovery biotechs in terms of strategy, R&D, and human resource management. We have been able to expand our pipeline with minimal in-house human resources and expenses, and have been able to develop various modalities, and our development efforts is now bearing fruit. Rather than focusing on our own internal resources and environment, we would rather focus on actively utilizing external resources and the external environment to build a framework for efficient innovation.