Astellas Establishes Open Innovation Hub for Tumor Microenvironment Research with Cutting-Edge Spatial Biology, in Mitsui Fudosan’s “MITSUI LINK-Lab KASHIWA-NO-HA 1”

June 29, 2023
Astellas Pharma Inc.
Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.

TOKYO, June 29, 2023 - Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Naoki Okamura, “Astellas”) and Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. (TSE: 8801, President and CEO: Takashi Ueda, “Mitsui Fudosan”) announced today that Astellas will establish a “TME imaging and interactive research for innovation (TME iLab)” open innovation hub in October, 2023 in “MITSUI LINK-Lab KASHIWA-NO-HA 1” (Kashiwa City, Chiba Prefecture, “the Lab”) operated by Mitsui Fudosan.

About TME iLab open innovation hub for research of tumor microenvironment

  • The two companies will collaborate to maximize the benefits of the Kashiwa-no-ha area, which is located close to many leading Japanese cutting-edge medical facilities and academia, including National Cancer Center Japan, with the aim of gaining new insights about the tumor microenvironment, a challenge in refractory cancer, and generating innovations based on the knowledge gained.
  • At TME iLab, we aim to generate innovation through discussion between internal and external researchers, including Dr. Akihiro Ohashi, a division head of Collaboration Research and Development at Exploratory Oncology Research & Clinical Trial Center (EPOC), National Cancer Center, who is engaged in research as a Principal Investigator (PI)* at Astellas under the cross-appointment system.
  • Cutting-edge spatial information analyzers and machine learning technologies, such as the spatial molecular imager “CosMx SMI”, the system for spatial omics analysis “Xenium” and the multifluorescent tissue profiler “Orion”, of the US companies NanoString, 10x Genomics and RareCyte respectively, will be made available to researchers at the facility.
  • Mitsui Fudosan will provide the "Mitsui Link Lab Open Innovation Support Program*2" to create a mechanism to attract many researchers to TME iLab, and provide research and business support and communication/networking support.

In order to continue to discover innovative drugs, including anticancer drugs, it is essential to bring together cutting-edge science in multiple fields and combine it in research and development. Using these cutting-edge facilities, we will promote “defining characteristics of the tumor microenvironment in clinical specimens,” “selecting biomarkers for effective therapies from clinical data,” and “identification of candidate target molecules that will become new therapeutic targets.”

“We are pleased to reach an agreement with Mitsui Fudosan. In our new hub of open innovation, we are seeking a wide range of partners with innovative expertise and technologies in tumor microenvironment research,” said Yoshitsugu Shitaka, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer (CScO), Astellas. “By combining Astellas’ capabilities in drug discovery with the knowledge of partners, including academia and venture companies, we expect to accelerate anticancer drug research and create innovative drugs. Through these activities, we will also contribute to further growth of the ecosystem in Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City.”

“We sincerely welcome Astellas to establish a hub in Kashiwa-no-ha. In the Kashiwa-no-ha area, a smart city is being built through public-private-academic collaboration, and in the life science area, an ecosystem that generates innovation is being created through the formation of communities to support both cross-collaboration between academia and industry on medical and healthcare-related initiatives and the social implementation of research and development seeds,” said Kazunori Yamashita, Executive Managing Officer, General Manager, Mitsui Fudosan. “In the life science area as well, the creation of an ecosystem that fosters innovation is progressing. We, too, will contribute to the development of TME iLab and industrial growth, including the creation of innovative drugs, by working to create a place for promoting innovation and building a community.”


Address 6-6-2 Kashiwa-no-ha, Kashiwa City, Chiba
Access 3 minutes by bus from “Kashiwanoha-campus” Station on the Tsukuba Express line,
3 minutes on foot from “Mitsui Garden Hotel Kashiwa-no-ha Park Side Mae (Zeikan Kenshujo)” bus stop
  • 1 Principal Investigator (PI): One of the research professions at Astellas
  • 2 For more information about Mitsui Link Lab Open Innovation Support Program, please see the press release “New Service from Mitsui Lab & Office MITSUI LINK-Lab Open Innovation Support Program Launched Supporting life science companies, including consultation services for research and management, common equipment room, and store stocked with research consumables and reagents” issued on May 18, 2023.

About Astellas

Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into VALUE for patients. For more information, please visit our website at

About Mitsui Fudosan

Mitsui Fudosan is a comprehensive real estate developer that strives to solve social issues and create new value through urban development. Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City is an intellectual cluster of Japan's leading academia and medical facilities. In addition to Mitsui Link-Lab Kashiwa-no-ha 1 and Mitsui Garden Hotel Kashiwa-no-ha Park Side, a hotel that supports cancer patients located on the grounds of the National Cancer Center Hospital East, a variety of other facilities, including offices, commercial facilities, and a mobility field, create a bustling atmosphere. Through public-private-academic collaboration, the Smart City is also actively engaged in verification experiments utilizing startup and university technologies. (Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City:

Cautionary Notes (Astellas)
In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management’s current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas’ intellectual property rights by third parties.
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