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Santen, RIKEN and FBRI Announce Research Collaboration to Develop New Retinal Disease Treatments


​October 6, 2016, Osaka, Saitama and Hyogo, Japan - Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. ("Santen"), RIKEN, and the Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation ("FBRI") announce the initiation of a research collaboration to identify new drug candidates for photoreceptor degenerative disease including retinitis pigmentosa1 and age-related macular degeneration2 using iPS cell-derived retinal cells.


The research collaboration will include the establishment of a research lab in the research building at the Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation in FBRI. The three parties will jointly create disease models reflecting pathological conditions of photoreceptor degenerative diseases and evaluate drug candidates using such models by utilizing technology related to the differentiation and induction of iPS cells into retinal cells that have been accumulated by RIKEN.

With this collaborative research, the three parties aim to create innovative products that will contribute to the patients of photoreceptor degenerative diseases.


1Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited retinal disorder characterized by the progressive photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelial cells dysfunction. Visual impairment usually manifest as visual loss, night blindness and visual field defect.

2Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a retinal disease common in people over the age of 50 years. AMD is characterized by the progressive breakdown of the macula, resulting in the loss of central vision including visual acuity.


RIKEN is Japan's largest comprehensive research institution renowned for high-quality research in a diverse range of scientific disciplines. Founded in 1917 as a private research foundation in Tokyo, RIKEN has grown rapidly in size and scope, today encompassing a network of world-class research centers and institutes across Japan.

About FBRI

The Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation (FBRI) was established in March 2000 as a core organization for supporting various activities to promote the Kobe Biomedical Innovation Cluster (KBIC). FBRI operates through four major divisions: Institute of Biomedical Research and Innovation, Translational Research Informatics Center, Pro-Cluster Kobe, and Research & Development Center for Cell Therapy. Its primary mission is to revitalize the economy of Kobe and the Kansai region, improve the health and welfare of the citizens of Kobe and the wider general public, and upgrade healthcare standards around the world.

About Santen

As a specialty company dedicated to the ophthalmic field, Santen carries out research, development, sales, and marketing of pharmaceuticals. Santen is the market leader in Japan for prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals and sells products in over 50 countries. As a leading company in the field of ophthalmology, Santen aims to contribute to society by supplying valuable products and services to satisfy unmet medical needs. For more details, please see Santen’s website (

Santen Forward-looking Statements

Information provided in this press release contains so-called "Forward-looking Statements". The realizations of these forecasts are subject to risk and uncertainty from various sources. Therefore, please note that the actual results may differ significantly from the forecasts. Business performance and financial condition are subject to the effects of change in regulations made by the governments of Japan and other nations concerning medical insurance, drug pricing and other systems, and to fluctuations in market variables such as interest rates and foreign exchange rates.


Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Christopher Hohman, General Manager

Corporate Communications Group


Tel: +81-6-4802-9360