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Daiichi to research cancer drugs with Japan’s National Cancer Centre

Deal also covers promotion of public health

Daiichi Sankyo has entered a research collaboration with Japan's National Cancer Centre to develop new cancer treatments.

The alliance is anticipated to accelerate research efforts from both organisations by integrating technologies and experience and will cover both the identification and evaluation of drug targets, as well as the development of drug candidate compounds and antibodies through screening.

“This agreement strengthens collaboration between both organisations, and we believe it will greatly advance research of promising anticancer agents,” said Daiichi in a statement.

The agreement also covers the promotion of public health in cancer, which is the largest single cause of death in Japan but suffers from low screening rates for such conditions as breast cancer, where there is no national programme.

Only 24 per cent of eligible women were screened for breast cancer in 2007, compared to an average of 62 per cent among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's 34 developed nations.

The National Cancer Centre was formed in 1962 to serve as a medical institute for cancer treatment and research in response to increasing numbers of cancer incidents in Japan following World War II.

Since then, it has expanded and enhanced its facilities to provide diagnosis, research, and training, including previous joint research efforts with Daiichi in several areas of oncology.

Daiichi has also increased its own efforts into oncology in recent years, purchasing Plexxikon in 2011 in a deal that saw it gain the rights to personalised skin cancer drug Zelboraf (vemurafenib). This drug is now approved in both the US and Europe, and is co-promoted with Roche/Genentech.

Daiichi also has deals with AstraZeneca to co-promote bone cancer drug denosumab and with GSK to market cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix.

• Find out more about the healthcare market in Japan in our Country Report: Japan.

22nd May 2012

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