RaQualia & Nagoya’s ITbM To Develop Circadian Rhythm Drugs

The academia-industry partnership is hoped to yield small molecule drugs that can treat symptoms of circadian clock disruption.

AsianScientist (Nov. 25, 2015) – RaQualia Pharma Inc. and the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) of Nagoya University have entered a joint research agreement to discover small molecules to control the circadian rhythms of mammals.

The research project will be conducted by Professors Yasuhiro Iwata and Mikio Morita of RaQualia, and Professors Kenichiro Itami (Director), Tsuyoshi Hirota and Steve Kay (Principal Investigator, ITbM; President, The Scripps Research Institute) of ITbM.

The discovery of small molecules to control the circadian clock of mammals is one of ITbM’s main research focuses. Using a chemical genetic approach, Itami (synthetic chemistry), Hirota (chronobiology) and Kay (chronobiology) are developing compounds that can shorten or lengthen the circadian rhythm. ITbM aims to discover ‘transformative bio-molecules’ that will make pronounced advances in circadian clock research and improve the health of people.

The circadian clock has a significant role in the sleep-wake rhythm along with daily control in the secretion of hormones and metabolic activity. As a consequence, disruption of the circadian rhythm is not only related to sleep disorders, obesity and other lifestyle diseases but may also induce mental disorders. Compounds that affect the circadian clock mechanism may be effective for controlling the function of the body clock and may potentially become pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms associated with the circadian clock disruption.

“Together, we hope to be able to share our experience and expertise to advance the research in developing molecules to control the circadian clock. We are extremely pleased to enter an academia-industrial partnership with ITbM and we look forward to contributing to this exciting project by applying our technological expertise as a bio venture,” said Mr. Masaki Sudo of RaQualia, Executive Director, Head of Chemistry.

“The collaboration with RaQualia is absolutely essential in order to create drugs from the molecules discovered at ITbM,” said Itami. “We hope to learn from RaQualia’s extensive expertise in developing pharmaceuticals, and conduct open research by making good use of each other’s competence.”

“Our next challenge is to generate practical applications from the unique seeds discovered at ITbM, by developing drug-like molecules,” added Hirota.

ITbM and RaQualia envision that this academia-industrial collaboration between fundamental research and applied science will accelerate drug discovery research and lead to the development of innovative drugs that can control the circadian clock rhythm.


Source: Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules.
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