Astellas, BioLabs and Mitsui Fudosan Announce a Collaboration to Enhance the Life Science Ecosystems in Tsukuba and Kashiwa-no-ha, Japan

Astellas Pharma Inc., BioLabs Global, Inc., and Mitsui Fudosan have joined forces to enhance the life science ecosystem in Tsukuba and Kashiwa-no-ha, two renowned science hubs in Japan. The collaboration aims to accelerate open innovation and create a thriving environment for scientific excellence and groundbreaking healthcare solutions.

As part of this partnership, BioLabs, known for its shared laboratories and support for life science startups, will lend its expertise to ensure seamless facility management at SakuLabTM-Tsukuba, an open innovation hub launched by Astellas in October 2023. BioLabs will also organize networking events for residents, providing them with valuable opportunities to connect with the global life science ecosystem.

Mitsui Fudosan, on the other hand, operates “MITSUI LINK-Lab KASHIWA-NO-HA 1,” a rental lab facility in Kashiwa-no-ha that supports open innovation activities. Astellas has already established the TME iLab open innovation hub for tumor microenvironment research in Mitsui Fudosan’s facility. Through this collaboration, Astellas and Mitsui Fudosan will work together to enhance the life science ecosystem in Tsukuba, Kashiwa-no-ha, and the surrounding areas.

Astellas, a pharmaceutical company operating in over 70 countries, will provide ready-to-use experimental facilities for SakuLabTM-Tsukuba at its Tsukuba Research Center. Leveraging its drug discovery capabilities, Astellas will support academia and startups in their innovative endeavors. The company will also facilitate networking opportunities between SakuLabTM residents and Astellas researchers.

SakuLabTM, the branding name for Astellas’ global open innovation hubs, symbolizes blooming and new beginnings, inspired by the cherished cherry blossoms in Japanese culture. Astellas envisions SakuLabTM as a place where diverse minds and scientific excellence converge, fostering groundbreaking healthcare solutions that make a difference in patients’ lives worldwide.

Yoshitsugu Shitaka, Chief Scientific Officer of Astellas, expressed the company’s commitment to nurturing innovative ideas and technologies through collaborations with academia and startups. Astellas aims to contribute to the development of the life science ecosystem in each region by forming strategic partnerships, offering joint research opportunities, and investing in open laboratories.

Johannes Fruehauf, Founder and CEO of BioLabs, expressed excitement about partnering with Astellas and Mitsui Fudosan to expand BioLabs’ global network in Japan. Both organizations share a mission to accelerate the commercialization of cutting-edge innovations that improve patients’ lives. Together, they will develop the life science innovation ecosystem in the Tsukuba area.

Kazunori Yamashita, Executive Managing Officer and General Manager at Mitsui Fudosan, warmly welcomed the opening of SakuLabTM-Tsukuba, following the success of TME iLab in Kashiwa-no-ha. The Kashiwa-no-ha area is actively engaged in creating an innovation-generating ecosystem through cross-sectional collaboration among academia, companies, and communities. The partnership between the communities and ecosystems in Tsukuba and Kashiwa-no-ha is expected to accelerate progress in the field.

Astellas has already incorporated the impact of this collaboration into its financial forecast for the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2024.

SakuLabTM-Tsukuba, along with the collective efforts of Astellas, BioLabs, and Mitsui Fudosan, promises to strengthen the life science ecosystem in Tsukuba, Kashiwa-no-ha, and the surrounding areas. By fostering collaboration, knowledge exchange, and innovation, this partnership aims to drive the development of pioneering healthcare solutions that will positively impact patients worldwide.

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