Daicel’s Solutions for Improving the Quality of Life* Expected in a Society with 100-Year Lifetimes
Daicel’s Solutions for Improving the
Quality of Life* Expected in a Society with
Under the 3D-III Mid-term Plan, we have been actively developing new businesses, particularly in medical and health care.
In FY2019/3, we took major steps to achieve our goals, including development of a drug delivery system expected to substantially contribute to the development of innovative drugs such as gene therapy, the acquisition of a pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing company, and the acquisition of a genomics company. This special feature covers the background and prospects of these businesses as shared by key persons in each field.
*Quality of Life (QOL): Material wealth as well as the general level of satisfaction in life, including psychological wellbeing.
Establishing a method for administering next-generation drugs
We are applying technologies cultivated through our pyrotechnic device business, such as automobile airbag inflators, to develop for medical purposes an injectable drug delivery device, a pyro-drive jet injector. This needle-free injector system incorporates a novel mechanism that ejects the drug loaded in the device as a high-speed stream of fluid driven by the instantaneous power generated from pyro combustion to penetrate the skin.
At the experimental level, we have already obtained very promising, unprecedented findings by using the device to effectively deliver genes and other drugs into cells.
While next-generation drugs such as gene therapeutics only function when delivered into cells, the significant size of the molecules has posed a challenge, hindering the expected effects from being obtained. The device is anticipated to serve as a new drug delivery system to overcome the challenge.
As the first step, we developed “Actranza™ lab” for developing next-generation drugs such as gene and cancer therapeutic drugs, and we have started offering it to joint research projects at several universities and pharmaceutical companies. The next step is to develop devices for human use. Moreover, we are providing Actranza lab to universities and pharmaceutical companies with the expectation of new drug development and expansion of the potential of the drug delivery system.
Development of the initial concept and device took place around 2009. Full-fledged development into a medical device followed the establishment of the Medical Business Strategy Office in 2016.
Features of Actranza lab
Driving source for ejecting drug fluid; generates pressure from explosive combustion energy.
A container for loading drug fluid, ejected through a fine nozzle at the tip of the container.
Gene administered mouse tissue
When a jellyfish-derived fluorescence gene is injected using Actranza lab, the gene is delivered into cells and its genetic information produces a fluorescent protein. The green area (pictured) is the fluorescence emission of the protein. When administered using a needle, the same gene is not delivered into cells and no green fluorescence is observed.
Launching from a super-aging society, Japan
Many people either have trouble swallowing pills, which can get stuck in one’s throat, or simply feel the whole experience is unpleasant. Children and the elderly in particular have more difficulty swallowing medications, which may allow drugs to enter the trachea, a risk that must be mitigated insofar as possible. Therefore, developing medicines that are easy to swallow can be a key solution for a super-aging society.
Daicel has been developing excipients that make it easier to swallow tablets. One example is GRANFILLER-D®, an excipient for orally disintegrating tablets (OD tablets).
GRANFILLER-D® can be combined with various active pharmacentical ingredients and then compressed to make OD tablets, which are easily swallowed and disintegrated even with small amount of water such as saliva.Recently we have also been developing next-generation excipients to expand the range of applicable active pharmaceutical ingredients. By globally expanding our business, we hope to spread these superior pharmaceutical excipients from Japan to the rest of the world.
In October 2018, we acquired Lomapharm GmbH, a German pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing company, as a subsidiary to develop dosage forms such as tablets and eye drops. This acquisition will significantly benefit both companies. For instance, we will gain great access to the viewpoints of excipient users, enabling us to achieve further advances in excipient development. Meanwhile, Lomapharm GmbH will be able to expand its product line-up, including OD tablets based on our technologies and excipients.
Simulation of breaking down in the mouth
When it comes into contact with saliva or water, it quickly absorbs the moisture and turns into a cream form.
Production line of Lomapharm GmbH
Partnering with a genomics venture
Genomics is a field of life science that reads and interprets the genetic information incorporated in genes, that is, the genome, and applies it to fields such as medicine and agriculture. The field has recently experienced rapid growth due to progress in both analytics technology and cost reductions.
According to our survey, the worldwide market of the entire genomics field was valued at approximately US$16 billion*, of which genome sequencing and analysis accounts for about US$7.5 billion* with a compound annual growth of around 18%*.
*Figures based on our 2018 survey.
In the pharmaceutical field, the Daicel Group commands the top share of the optical isomer separation market for small molecule drugs and also plans to offer advanced solutions in nucleic acids and gene therapy. One recent initiative was the acquisition of a US genomics venture, Arbor Biosciences (official name: Biodiscovery LLC) in January 2019.
This company is a leader in targeted DNA sequencing analysis technology and maintains a particularly solid position in Agribio, including the genetic analysis of agricultural products and identification of microorganisms. The technology is also useful for traceability since it allows species identification at a finer level of precision and can aid in estimating their production source by examining and comparing the DNA sequences of agricultural products.
The acquisition of Arbor Biosciences has allowed us to continue building relationships with companies conducting research and development in the most advanced fields of life sciences. We will strive to offer solutions for a wide range of fields beyond medicine by bringing together the benefits from the global network of our CPI Company, which operates the optical isomer separation business.
Promising fields for the application of sequence analysis information
Yellow circles indicate areas in which Arbor Biosciences is particularly competitive.
A genomics venture in Michigan, U.S.A., with about 20 employees,