FUJIFILM Corporation has raised its equity stake in Perseus Proteomics, Inc. from 22% to approx. 77% to become its parent company. The equity increase has been achieved through partial acquisition of Perseus´s issued shares and third-party allocation of new shares worth one billion yen.
Perseus is a biopharmaceutical venture with proprietary antibody production technologies, established on the basis of technologies developed by the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo. Since making capital participation in the company in January 2006, Fujifilm has undertaken joint development of antibody-based therapeutics. (1). The latest expansion in partnership is aimed at accelerating R&D and producing epoch-making drugs.
In today´s pharmaceutical business environment, the market for antibody-based therapeutics is expected to grow further because of their ability to work on specific cells or substances to deliver advanced efficacy. In the area of cancer treatment, which has almost no therapies that offer a high level of satisfaction to this day, expectations are running high for armed antibodies (2), i.e. antibodies conjugated with radioisotopes (RI) or anti-cancer drugs.
In order to meet such market needs, Fujifilm has brought together its proprietary Formulation, Targeting and Delivery (FTD) technologies (3), compiled through the development of photographic film and other products, and technologies nurtured through the synthesis of some 200,000 types of chemical compounds, with Perseus´s own technologies for exploring target molecules and generating / charactering antibodies, so as to develop antibody-based therapeutics that offer higher efficacy than existing products. Fujifilm plans to promote its antibody-based therapeutics business strongly to make a full-fledged entry into the fields of anti-cancer drugs and anti-inflammatory agents.
Defining medical systems and life science business as its key growth area, the Fujifilm Group is seeking to cover prevention, diagnosis and treatment comprehensively as a general healthcare company. In October 2006, the Group acquired all shares of Daiichi Radioisotope Laboratories, ltd. (today´s FUJIFILM RI Pharma Co., Ltd.), a company that applied RI to diagnostic and cancer treatment drugs. Its RI technologies play a significant role in the development, market introduction and sales of armed antibodies. Last year, the company began marketing Japan´s first radiolabeled antibody-based therapeutic drug ´´Zevalin´´ (manufactured and distributed by Bayer Yakuhin Ltd.), which has indications for low-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin´s lymphoma and mantle-cell lymphoma. In March 2008, the Group included Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. as a Group subsidiary to make a full-scale entry into the pharmaceutical business, thereby expanding operations in the ´´treatment´´ area. The Group will continue to tap into its advanced technologies and rich experiences to deliver optimum solutions featuring proprietary technologies, and to further improve people´s quality of life.
(1) Pharmaceutical agents that utilize antibodies that specifically bind to target proteins. They only act on specific cells or substances, and are therefore expected to achieve high efficacy and minimal side effects.
(2) Antibody-based therapeutics that use antibodies that are expected to provide more powerful efficacy. Antibodies are genetically engineered, and conjugated with RI, toxins or anti-cancer drugs to achieve higher efficacy and accumulation into malignant neoplasm. This is the field that benefits from Perseus´s antibody producing technologies and Fujifilm´s proprietary synthesis technology, nanotechnology, RI technology and image processing technology.
(3) Fujifilm technology that involves formulating desired chemicals and delivering them to targeted sites in appropriate levels and at appropriate times by means of emulsification, dispersion, nanoparticles, nanocapsule formation and porous & multilayer thin films, etc.
(4) In Japan, Bayer Yakuhin (formerly Nihon Schering) began the development of Zevalin® in 2002. In 2005, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare designated it as orphan drug (OD) for treating CD20-positive B-cell non-Hodgkin´s lymphoma. On January 25, 2008, the Ministry approved its importation, manufacturing and marketing with indication for recurrent CD20-positive or intractable low-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin´s lymphoma and mantle-cell lymphoma. FUJIFILM RI Pharma signed a formal partnership agreement with Bayer Yakuhin on July 8, 2008.
Profile of Perseus
Company name and location: Perseus Proteomics, Inc., Tokyo
Business description: Development and marketing of antibody-based therapeutics, in-vitro diagnostics, research reagents and nuclear hormone receptor antibody
Duesseldorf, 3. Februar 2009