Tokyo (March 29, 2001) Eisai Co., Ltd. of Tokyo (Presidentand CEO: Haruo Naito) announced the conclusion of a consulting agreement with Professor Masashi Yanagisawa an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Headquarters: Chevy Chase, Maryland) at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, for the purification and identification of ligands of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). The agreement was concluded on March 6, 2001, and is for a three-year term. Professor Yanagisawa will advise Eisai on GPCR research activities.
Professor Yanagisawa discovered endothelin and orexin which are ligands of specific GPCRs. This agreement is expected to facilitate GPCR related research projects primarily at the Laboratory of Seeds Finding Technology as well as the Drug Discovery Research Laboratories in Tsukuba in the identification of novel drug targets.
According to recent analyses, at present about 45 percent of all drugs on the market have their molecular targets on cell membrane receptors and within this category, GPCRs play the most important role.* Although it is known that there are many GPCRs, the physiological roles of numerous GPCRs are not known. Therefore, in the future, it is expected that novel therapeutic targets will be discovered through GPCR research.
*Source: J. Drews, Drug Discovery: A Historical Perspective, Science, 287, 1960(2000)