Industry-Academia Collaboration Courses

Industry-Academia Collaboration Courses

Alliance Laboratory for Advanced Medical Research (Alliance Station)
-Collaboration Framework for Drug Discovery Research with Astellas ―

There are still many unmet medical needs in the world including those of intractable diseases and rare diseases. Due to their complexity and rarity, mechanisms of these diseases are more difficult to be clarified, and drug discovery for these diseases requires an understanding of disease pathologies in humans. Thus, researches using blood and other clinical samples to identify molecules and cells critically associated with patients’ diseases, and those determining patient stratification are being highly demanded. In order to exploit findings of these studies and deliver innovative drugs to patients as soon as possible, efficient and in-depth research collaborations between academia and pharmaceutical company are needed in situations close to the clinical setting and diseases.
To further accelerate drug discovery research through evolution of the open innovation system of the AK Project*, where, clinical and basic research of the university and drug discovery research of the company are closely linked in a timely manner, Kyoto University and Astellas established Alliance Station (A-Station), a new open innovation scheme at Kyoto University, and the Alliance Laboratory for Advanced Medical Research as a framework for the implementation of its activities. A-Station is a new platform for collaboration between industry and academia and under this scheme, Kyoto University and Astellas will conduct joint research projects in all therapeutic areas in a prompt and flexible manner. Director: Shuh Narumiya (Professor, Graduate school of Medicine)
Industrial Partner: Astellas Pharma Inc.* AK Project: Collaborative research conducted by Kyoto University and Astellas from July 2007 to March 2017 in “Center for Innovation in Immunoregulative Technologies and Therapeutics” as a “Creation of Innovation Centers for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Areas Program” funded by the the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. only)

Department of Drug Discovery for Lung Diseases

In the era of an aging society, lung diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, COPD, bronchial asthma and pneumonia have an increasing impact on healthy life expectancy. Although more than two trillion yen is spent for lung diseases each year in Japan, the therapeutic agents for lung diseases are still limited. We think that one of the reasons is the complexity of human lung structure, consisting of various cells and matrices forming numerous tracheal branches and >300 million alveoli with elaborate network of blood vessels. However, the recent progress in human lung cell biology has made it possible to initiate this project of drug discovery for refractory lung diseases under the collaboration of academic and industrial researchers in Kyoto University.

Department of Advanced Medicine for Respiratory Failure

Respiratory failure is caused by various conditions, including the impairment of gas exchange due to lung injury, pump failure of respiratory muscles, and abnormal ventilatory control. Respiratory failure is an important disease condition, because it can impair healthy life expectancy. In addition to drugs, respiratory rehabilitation, and surgeries such as lung transplantation, chronic respiratory failure treatment includes oxygen therapy and noninvasive ventilation (NIV).
Home health care, including home oxygen therapy (HOT), is an important part of chronic respiratory failure treatment. The number of patients on HOT has increased steadily to 140,000 in 2014, and the primary users are elderly patients with an average age >70 years. This trend will likely continue because Japan is experiencing a “super-aging” society.
The development of telecommunications equipment has enabled us to establish telemedicine, including telemonitoring. Telemonitoring has attracted interest as a potential solution to provide care for increasing aging populations living with chronic respiratory failure, particularly HOT users. In Japan, payment for “remote patient monitoring” was newly added to the medical payment system in 2018. Despite the increasing importance of home health care and telemedicine for chronic respiratory failure, a system to collect useful bioinformation has not yet been established. The aim of this department is to improve the management of respiratory failure by establishing a telemonitoring system through the collaboration of the Kyoto University Hospital and Teijin Pharma Ltd.

Associate Professor
Tomohiro Handa
Assistant Professor
Satoshi Hamada
  • Teijin Pharma Ltd

Department of Clinical Bio-resource Research and Development

For medical research and development, clinical samples are emerging to play important roles in every phase throughout the entire process. Moreover, clinical sample is one of the most valuable resources for assessing interpatient heterogeneity to achieve precision and personalized medicine. Thus, analysis on clinical samples become more and more critical for clinical practice as well as R&D. Kyoto university has built up KBBM, Inc. teaming up with 7 private companies to ensure ethics and quality in collection, transfer and preservation of clinical samples. These supports by KBBM are going to be applied to all the clinical samples and medical information associated with them, including healthy controls, collected through the Clinical Bioresource Center in Kyoto university hospital. Accordingly, medical research and development in Kyoto university will be further promoted by taking advantages of easily accessible and quality controlled clinical samples and their data.
The researchers in our department have developed and improved methods for the preparation, culture and application of cancer cells as well as normal cells from patient samples. We are currently working on establishing panels of the cultured cancer cells from different patient samples. By integrating information including ex vivo chemo/radio-sensitivity assay, in vivo assay, clinical course, genome sequencing, OMICS data, and so on, we aim to develop novel targets of therapy, and biomarkers for selecting suitable therapeutics for each patient. We keep promoting innovation in the technology of culturing patient-originated cells to truly realize personalized medicine.

Program specific professor
Masahiro Inoue
Program specific assistant professor
Jumpei Kondo
  • KBBM

Next-generation Oncology Discovery

under construction

Department of Epilepsy, Movement Disorders and Physiology

Department of Epilepsy, Movement Disorders and Physiology was established as an Endowed Department in August 2013, supported by the Department of Neurology (chaired by Prof. Ryosuke Takahashi), and has been continuing as the Industry-Academia Collaboration Course since June 2018. We keep working on clinical research to solve pathomechanism of epilepsy and movement disorders, developments of new treatments from the aspect of neurons and glia, and translatable and translational research under close collaboration with basic scientists. We also provide a wide range of educational opportunities to physicians and clinical researchers internationally.

  1. We started joint clinical researches (with Eisai Co., Ltd.) to elucidate the property of paroxysmal depolarization shift (PDS) at epileptic foci in human and to individualize inhibitory mechanism of anti-epileptic/seizure drugs which have direct and/or indirect effects on PDS, such as AMPA antagonist. We also aim to elucidate pathomechanism of neurological disorders in which neurons and glia underlying, and develop the precisional treatments.
    The followings are our continuous activities since 2013 of establishment (supported by NIHON KOHDEN, Otsuka Pharmaceutical., and UCB Japan).
  2. Clinical activities and education
    We aim to solve pathophysiology of epilepsy and movement disorders, and to develop new treatments that could lead to the advanced medical care. We also aim at standardizing it in clinical practice. We provide integrated teaching opportunities for training of physician-scientists, clinical specialists, and leaders of related fields internationally.
  3. Research activities
    We promote clinical practice and research of clinical neurophysiology on epilepsy and movement disorders and its clinical application, which are very closely related to neurophysiological knowledge and methods.

てんかん発作時DC shiftの波形特性と病理所見との相関

Correlations between two types of ictal direct current shift and pathologies
We compared (1) the peak amplitude and (2) peak latency of the earliest ictal DC shifts recorded with human intracranial EEG between TC of 10 s (for recording) and 2 s (for analysis).
(Left) Cluster and logistic regression analyses revealed two types of ictal DC shift. A rapid development pattern (Type#1) was defined as the ictal DC shifts with a shorter peak latency and it showed a smaller attenuation rate of amplitude. A slow development pattern (Type#2) was defined as the ictal DC shifts with crosscurrent of a rapid development pattern, i.e., longer peak latency and larger attenuation rate of amplitude.
(Right) Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) IA tended to show a rapid development pattern and FCD IIA tended to show a slow development pattern, indicating that there might be some correlations between two types of ictal DC shift and certain pathologies. (cited from Kajikawa S, et al. Clin Neurophysiol. 2022;137:113-121.)

Akio Ikeda, M.D., Ph.D., FACNS
Associate Professor
Masao Matsuhashi, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Kiyohide Usami, M.D., Ph.D.
Industry-academia collaborator
  • Eisai Co., Ltd.
  • Nihon Kohden Corporation, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., UCB Japan Co., Ltd.
Tel +81-75-751-3662

Department of Advanced Imaging in Medical Magnetic Resonance

under construction

Department of Regulation of Neurocognitive Disorders

Department of Regulation of Neurocognitive Disorders
– Alliance between Japanese-founded U.S. Bio Ventures (Cyn-K, LLC & VLP Therapeutics, LLC) and Department of Neurology of Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine –
As Japan entered a rapidly aging society and the number of people with neurocognitive disorders continues to increase, finding measures to address them has become urgent matters for the whole country. In particular, patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are increasing in number depending on the age, however there is still no fundamental treatment for such neurocognitive disorders. In our department, we will use the platform technology discovered and developed by VLP Therapeutics (USA), co-founded by our industry collaborator, and investigate the effects of the vaccine targeting a pathogenesis protein associated with neurocognitive disorders on such disorders, as well as elucidate the mechanism of brain degeneration and aging. We think it better to have vaccines for the treatment of neurocognitive disorders. They offer not only economic advantage but also objective indexes such as antibody titers that can be used to measure the effects. Furthermore, they eliminate the concerns for elderly patients with neurocognitive disorders to forget to medicate or to over-medicate themselves. Vaccines offer overwhelming benefits over drugs that need to be taken daily, or the expensive antibody medicines. We aim to develop three types of vaccines according to the progression of the disease.

Management Members
Professor, Department of Regulation of Neurocognitive Disorders
Ryuji Ueno, M.D., Ph.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman, Department of Neurology
Ryosuke Takahashi, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Regulation of Neurocognitive Disorders
Wataru Akahata, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Neurology
Akira Kuzuya, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Regulation of Neurocognitive Disorders
Kazuya Goto, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Regulation of Neurocognitive Disorders
Yuji Fukushima, Ph.D.

Department of Real World Data Research and Development

Department of Real World Data Research and Development Web Site

Immunology and Genomic Medicine

We have been studying molecular mechanisms controlling development and function of lymphocytes. Currently we are addressing important questions:

  1. How antibody diversity is controlled by AID, a putative RNA-editing enzyme required for class switch recombination (CSR) and somatic hypermutation (SHM)? We found that AID reduces the amount of Topoisomerase 1, generating non-B DNA and inducing irreversible cleavage by Topoisomearse 1.
  2. How PD-1 deficiency leads to development of autoimmune diseases? Why a fraction of cancer patients are not sensitive to the PD-1 blockade cancer immunotherapy. <Research and Education>
    We proved that class switch is mediated by recombination with dynamic excision of genomic fragments. In 2000, we discovered activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), which is responsible for DNA cleavage to initiate both CSR and SHM. Surprisingly, AID mutates not only the antibody gene, but also protooncogenes. We have found that topoisomerase 1 (Top1) is the enzyme that initiates CSR and SHM by cleaving S and V region, respectively. Furthermore, the transcription coupled nucleosomal reassembly is critical for this Top1-mediated DNA cleavage during CSR and SHM.
    Recently, clinical trials of humanized anti-PD-1 antibody against melanoma, renal cancer and lung cancer demonstrated that PD-1 blockade can cure cancer mediated by tumor-reactive T cell activation. Although anti-human PD-1 antibody (Nivolumab) has been approved for the above cancers, more than half patients were still unresponsive. PD-1 blockade leads not only anti-cancer immunity, but also autoimmunity. The aim of our research is to elucidate how PD-1 control the anti-tumor or auto-immunity and to regulate the sensitivity for the PD-1 blockade cancer immunotherapy.

A Principal of cancer immunotherapy by anti-PD-1 antibody

Tasuku Honjo
Associate Professor
Nasim Begum, Maki Kobayashi, Kenji Chamoto
Assistant Professor
Tomonori Yagichi
TEL 075-753-4371
FAX 075-753-4388

Department of Digital Health and Epidemiology

Department of Digital Health and Epidemiology was established in July 2020 supported by Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto University, for the purpose of conducting research that contributes to preventive medicine, behavior change, and evaluation of medical care using medical real-world database. This department conducts research including insomnia, drug adherence, lifestyle habits and their relationship to disease, and drug evaluation for safety or effectiveness.


Professor Sachiko Tanaka
Assistant Professor Toshiki Fukasawa
Assistant Professor Kayoko Mizuno

    • Eisai Co., Ltd. 
    • Kyowa Kirin Co.,Ltd.

Web Site

Department of Genomic Medicine

under construction

Department of drug discovery for inflammatory skin diseases

under construction

Laboratory of Tumor Microenvironment and Immunity

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Japan, affecting one million people annually. Recent advances in medical technology, especially with the development of antibody drugs against immune check molecules such as PD-L1/PD-1, have changed cancer from an incurable disease to a curable disease. However, it still remains a major threat to human health, with an average five-year survival rate of around 60% and 370,000 deaths per year.
Laboratory of Tumor Microenvironment and Immunity is an industry-academia collaboration project launched as a successor to the DSK project started in 2011, focusing on stromal cells infiltrating cancer tissues in collaboration with Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. (formerly Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd.). Based on this knowledge, we aim to develop and create original and innovative anti-cancer drugs and diagnostic/therapeutic methods.

Masakazu Hattori
Junior Associate Professor
Tomonari Awaya
Assistant Professor
Yan Xu
  • Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd.

Department of Drug Discovery for Intractable Diseases

We conduct cutting-edge research in collaboration with industry and academia with the aim of treating intractable and rare diseases, with a focus on skin diseases or a molecular mechanism common to diseases. The skin is an organ that surrounds the entire body. Skin diseases are very diverse, including infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, allergic diseases, drug eruptions, and tumors. The skin is visible to all and can be touched directly. The strength of direct access to organs is one of the strengths of modern dermatology. Skin biopsies, stratum corneum sampling by tape stripping, artificial blisters are used to safely collect diseased cells, to which cutting-edge analysis techniques are applied. In addition, we target ferroptosis, abnormal splicing, GPCR signaling, etc. as molecular mechanisms common to diseases. Utilizing the strengths of Kyoto University, we will continue to advocate new disease concepts through exchanges with different fields and contribute to a better world.

Associate Professor
Takashi Nomura
Assistant Professor
Masayasu Toyomoto
  • Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd
  • BTB Drug Development Research Center Co., Ltd.

Department of Personalized Cancer Medicine

under construction

Department of Immuno-Oncology PDT

It is challenging for pharmaceutical companies to create new drugs and innovative therapies, especially for diseases which are resistant to treatment. In our department, collaborating with the venture company derived from Kyoto university and the pharmaceutical company, we will create new drugs and innovative therapies using advanced academic knowledge and cutting-edge technologies.
The objective of this project is to enhance the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy by a synergistic approach which combines Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICI), such as Opdivo, with photodynamic therapy (PDT). Our goal is to optimize the efficacy of cancer treatment and improve patient outcomes through this innovative combined cancer immunotherapy. We investigate whether combining ICI and PDT with local therapeutic effect induces abscopal effect and enhances the systemic efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. We aim to elucidate the mechanism underlying the synergistic efficacy of this combination therapy and establish optimal treatment setting. Furthermore, we evaluate the safety and efficacy of this combined cancer immunotherapy by investigator initiated clinical trial.
We are investigating the molecular mechanism by which the ICI and PDT combination boosts the anti-tumor immune effect and therapeutic advantage compared to other combination therapies.

Kenji Chamoto
Lecturer  Tomonori Yaguchi
Lecturer  Chikatoshi Katada
Assistant Professor  Masashi Tamaoki
  • Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd.

Department of Adaptive and Maladaptive Responses in Health and Disease

Department of Adaptive and Maladaptive Responses in Health and Disease is a collaboration project with Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd., led by Professor Motoko Yanagita. We aim to reveal the underlying mechanisms of microbiome-mediated health and diseases and tissue aging to overcome such diseases. Moreover, we also aim to reveal the molecular and cellular mechanisms of age-dependent morphological and functional changes of brains.

Professor Takeshi Kawauchi
Assistant Professor Ryo Yamada

  • Meiji Holdings Co., Ltd.