Support for drug discovery seeds research at the University of Tokyo ~Activities of Drug Discovery Initiative ~
In 2006, the University of Tokyo established the Drug Discovery Initiative (DDI), aiming at assisting researchers in the pursuit of bioactive compounds that lead to drug discovery, as one of the organizations under the purview of the Committee for President Initiatives. The name at the time of inauguration was Chemical Biology Research Initiative and in 2022, DDI became the affiliated organization of the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences by reorganization.
DDI have built a public compound library from scratch that serves as the basis for our compound discovery research and now holds a collection of 350,000 samples. The samples of this compound library are dispensed to domestic researchers who wish to use them regardless of their affiliation.
In parallel with the collection of compound samples, we have established a range of shared facilities for screening research. Not only equipping "physical" compound library, but we also provide an environment where even those who are new to chemical screening can gain professional insights of pharmaceutical companies, by providing practical support for screening techniques in the laboratory and regularly holding technical seminars.
The Lead Exploration Unit in DDI is also responsible for supporting chemical synthesis for optimization and evaluation of pharmacokinetics of discovered active compounds since it is difficult to make them as promising drug as they are.
Moreover, we provide further support by collaborating with experts who are in charge of in silico screening and protein structure analysis in Basis for Supporting Innovative Drug Discovery and Life Science Research (BINDS) project by Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).
Hirotatsu Kojima, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Drug Discovery Initiative,
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences
The University of Tokyo