NEC aims to discover new drugs harnessing advanced AI technology
- New company established to promote development and application of therapeutic cancer vaccines -
Tokyo, December 19, 2016 - NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) today announced the establishment of "CYTLIMIC Inc." (CYTLIMIC), a new company that promotes the development and application of therapeutic cancer peptide (*1) vaccines discovered using NEC's unique advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. Moreover, NEC has concluded an agreement in respect to a third-party allocation of newly issued shares to CYTLIMIC underwritten by Fast Track Initiative, Inc., SMBC Venture Capital Co., Ltd., and NEC Capital Solutions Limited as part of reinforcing its healthcare business and commencing with the drug development business.
NEC's "NEC the WISE" (*2) cutting-edge AI technologies combine machine learning and experimentation to produce a unique "immune function prediction technology" that is able to efficiently discover peptides that are potential vaccines in a short period of time and at a low cost.
Harnessing this technology, NEC has been engaged in collaborative research since 2014 with Yamaguchi University and Kochi University, and in clinical research with Yamaguchi University, resulting in the discovery of a peptide vaccine that promises to be effective in the treatment of hepatoma and esophageal cancer and is compatible with the genetic profile of approximately 85% of Japan's population.
Currently, NEC is advancing its application as a new cancer drug through CYTLIMIC, by developing investigational use formulations of the discovered peptide vaccine, confirming its safety and efficacy through nonclinical and clinical tests, and investigating its commercialization with pharmaceutical companies. With initiatives such as this latest drug development business, NEC will continue to expand its "Solutions for Society" business by harnessing AI and other cutting-edge technologies to strengthen its healthcare business.
In recent years, advances in life science have been accompanied by advances in elucidating the human immunity mechanism, and new cancer therapies that utilize immunity are being administered. Research is underway into the application method of one such therapy, a therapeutic cancer peptide vaccine that activates the "immunity that attacks cancer."
However, the development and application of this vaccine requires the discovery of peptides that activate immunity from among 500 billion amino acid sequences, as well as the discovery of peptides that universally match the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) which differs from person to person, and an immune adjuvant (*3) to advance the efficacy of the peptides. Added to this is the need for clinical and nonclinical tests using these, resulting in a lengthy and costly process.
Now, through the efficient discovery of peptides that are potential vaccines in a short timeframe and at low cost using cutting-edge AI technology, NEC is developing and putting to practical use a therapeutic cancer peptide vaccine through CYTLIMIC.
NEC's initiatives to dateThe following are NEC's discoveries and demonstrations in respect to our research and development of cancer peptide vaccines.
- June, 2001:
Developed our unique AI technology "immune function prediction technology" that combines machine learning and experimentation to discover potential new substances. Only a few biological tests are needed to predict potential new drugs from an enormous number of chemical substances. This is accomplished with a high degree of accuracy, within a short timeframe, and at low cost.
- October, 2014:
The search for peptides that activate immunity from two kinds of cancer antigens (*4) expressed in Hepatoma, gastrointestinal cancers such as esophageal cancer, as well as breast cancer, in combination with the discovery of more than 10 types of peptide. Each peptide is universally adaptable for multiple HLAs, covering approximately 85% of the Japanese population, while confirming that immunity was actually activated.
- April, 2015:
Used various combinations to discover an innovative new adjuvant in collaboration with Yamaguchi University that enhances the efficacy of peptide vaccines.
- January, 2016:
Started first-in-human clinical research of new "complex immunotherapy" (*5), using the peptides and adjuvant described above, to test initial safety and efficacy at Yamaguchi University.
Latest NEC initiative
Now, through NEC's establishment of CYTLIMIC, the application of the vaccine is being advanced by developing investigational use formulations of the therapeutic cancer peptide vaccine, confirming its safety and efficacy through nonclinical and clinical tests, and investigating its commercialization with pharmaceutical companies, based on peptides discovered using NEC's unique AI technology "immune function prediction technology" and innovative adjuvant discovered through collaborative research with Yamaguchi University.CYTLIMIC Profile
|Date established:||December 16, 2016|
|Shareholding ratio:||NEC: 39.9%, other investors: 60.1%|
|Capital:||361.5 million yen (after capital increase)|
|Representative:||Shun Doi, President & CEO|
"As a result of this latest initiative, NEC is developing and implementing a therapeutic cancer peptide vaccine, and investigating how it can be adapted for various forms of cancer. Also, as a result of NEC's cutting-edge AI technology and the latest immunology findings of universities and research institutes, we are developing a new cancer vaccine using peptides and adjuvants, helping to create a society that beats cancer. Going forward, NEC will continue to expand its business by promoting the application of AI technology to the healthcare sector," said Takaaki Shimizu, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at NEC Corporation.
- *1) Peptide: A molecule consisting of chains of between several and several dozen of a variety of amino acids.
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- *3) Adjuvant: A pharmaceutical auxiliary material for immune activation administered in combination with a peptide for the purpose of enhancing immune function
- *4) Cancer antigen: Protein associated with cancer whose amount increases with a cell's carcinogenesis
- *5) Complex immunotherapy: Immunotherapy combining peptides and novel adjuvants
About NEC Corporation
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