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Japan’s first-ever industry-academia alliance to realize the development of innovative medicine in Japan

Implementation of a one-stop bioresource project in Kyoto University, and the establishment of KBBM Co., Ltd. as a model of “industry-in-the-academia” industry-academia partnership

Kyoto University, SRL Inc., Tsubakimoto Chain Co., Ltd., Sysmex Corporation, Asklep Inc., Shimadzu Corporation, Fujitsu Ltd., and SCREEN Holdings Co., Ltd. have decided to build a new industry-academic collaboration model that makes use of each members’ research and business bases, aimed at contributing to developing innovative medicine in Japan. Of these, Kyoto University will carry out one-stop bioresource projects via the Clinical Bioresource Center that was established inside its University Hospital, while the seven companies will newly establish KBBM Co., Ltd. to promote the project. Both sides will tackle new, “industry-in-the-academia” industry-academia alliances to deliver even more effective and safe drugs and treatment methods even more quickly to the patients. The new company was named “KBBM” with the hope of building a bridge of innovative medicine from Kyoto (“Kyoto Bridge for Breakthrough Medicine”).  

Through investing in this project and participating in the business activities, Sysmex will work with Kyoto University and other corporations that are participating in this new company to contribute to realizing innovative and efficient medicine.

About Kyoto Bridge for Breakthrough Medicine, or KBBM Co., Ltd.

Location of the head office: Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture (inside Kyoto University’s Institute  for Frontier Medical Sciences Building)
President & CEO: Hiromitsu Tazawa
Capital: 301.5 million yen
Capital reserve: 301.5 million yen
Date established: March 1, 2018
Line of business:
Consignment, management and support of clinical research, clinical studies, and other operations
Consignment of tests relating to chemical analysis research of drugs, quasi-drugs, and clinical diagnostics
Search of drug creation targets and biomarkers, and other operations
 

A message about this project, released by Kyoto University

Seeds that have been either discovered or developed in the academia such as universities are rarely linked to innovative medical innovations. This, unfortunately, is the actual status seen in Japan, and there is a strong call to improve this situation. Research and development of pharmaceuticals and other similar products require clinical studies targeting human beings, including patients. Alleviating their burdens is a challenge that can be said to be both old and new.


In particular, by paving the way to use and apply human specimens (bioresources such as blood and part of diseased tissues) that are being supplied through the goodwill of patients and healthy individuals, it becomes possible, in the stage prior to applying drugs and other fruits of R&D to people, to directly verify the seeds’ efficacy and safety by using human biological samples, and to analyze the pathologies while linking numerous molecular biological analytical data with clinical information. These are believed to contribute to reducing the burden of clinical study participants who become the subjects, such as increasing the speed and efficiency of selecting the R&D seeds, and reducing unnecessary clinical studies. In other words, to deliver even better medicine to the patients as promptly as possible, we are being called on to build a mechanism to access human biological samples from the early stage of R&D, and carry out effective R&D.

On the other hand, in using and applying human samples, we are required to respect individual donors’ dignity and comply with research ethics, such as protecting the privacy and personal information of people who have cooperated in offering their samples. Maintaining the public nature of the bioresource business projects also becomes important. In handling human samples, we must clarify and visualize the process of harvesting, transporting, and preserving them, and supervise/manage them from ethical perspectives. Unless such mechanisms are in place, we can never hope to have people cooperate with us in offering their samples with peace of mind; people who use them, moreover, cannot carry out R&D with a sense of security, either.

Kyoto University has decided to create an original “industry-in-academia” model that made use of clinical bioresources, and build an advanced-level management setup where human samples collected from patients and healthy subjects at the University Hospital’s Clinical Bioresource Center can be put to use in research promptly and effectively, and to build a sustainable research base structure, together with seven private corporations.

The University will build a mechanism by which human samples that are collected at the University Hospital are supplied under appropriate supervision and management, and, by so doing, will aim at contributing to realize innovations in the R&D of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and to offer medicine that contributes to patient benefits, while protecting the rights of individual donor and maintaining the public nature of this project.

The project’s important key is the perspective of returning benefits to the patients through treatment and enhanced QOL. When corporations and other entities that develop pharmaceuticals decide to use human specimens, each of the user-side companies will reasonably shoulder appropriate costs needed for providing such samples, and, by allocating such costs to strengthening the foundation of these one-stop bioresource projects and clinical studies, and boosting the infrastructures such as the foundation of hospital medicine, etc., we will work to return the benefits to the patients.

Attempting to secure morality at even higher levels, Kyoto University has decided to create an original ethical governance model, which is unprecedented in our country, and KBBM will subsequently introduce this model. The scheme used in this model will not only have various types of agreements concluded among Kyoto University, KBBM and corporations that are participating in this new company, but will also observe the morality of KBBM’s business activities through the holding of the so-called “golden shares” (shares that can outvote all other shares) by Bioresource Project Governance Holdings, a general incorporated association established by Kyoto University.

Through this business project, Kyoto University aims at realizing innovative and efficient medicine that focuses on the patients.

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