The Research Foundation Itsuu Laboratory began around 100 years ago, in 1915, when Dr. Heizaburo Kondo of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the formerly Tokyo Imperial University established a facility in present-day Shiba, Minato-ku of Tokyo for conducting research requested by Gisaburo Shiono, the second-generation president of the Shiono Pharmaceutical Laboratory (predecessor of Shionogi & Co., Ltd.). It became a foundation in 1938 and continued pharmaceutical research during and even after the war. After moving to Tamagawa in the Setagaya-ku in 1966, Itsuu Laboratory contributed to the fields of pharmacy and organic chemistry by conducting total synthesis of natural organic compounds. Since then, over the past 20 years, we have been conducting research focused on drug discovery, although such research requires considerable time; moreover, research and development costs have increased. Therefore, since switching to a public interest incorporated foundation in 2012, we have been thinking about the future direction of Itsuu Laboratory through discussions among directors, councilors, and experts. Recently, as many foundations abandon independent research and have been switching to research grant foundations for the last years, we concluded that to contribute to the field of pharmaceutical sciences by improving the quality of organic chemistry in Japan, it would be necessary to continue wet labs. Therefore, in 2015, on the occasion of 100th anniversary of the laboratory’s establishment, we moved to a new location in the Kanagawa Science Park to set sail as the laboratory we are today. We are hoping we can engage as many young researchers as possible in researching new ideas over the course of 3-5 years with the guidance, encouragement, and support of advisory board members and various investigators/instructors. Through this, we hope to contribute to the advancement and development of pharmaceuticals based on organic chemistry in Japan.
For many years, Itsuu Laboratory has been committed to the synthesis of physiologically active heterocyclic alkaloids, which are crude drug components derived from natural products. However, if we focus on exploratory synthesis intended for drug discovery, only 1 in 30,000 of such compounds have the potential to become a pharmaceutical product. Furthermore, given the associated costs and scale of our laboratory, we cannot carry out full-scale biological studies on such compounds. As such, we determined that the significance of our laboratory is to support and foster young researchers that are passionate about basic pharmaceutical research focusing on organic synthesis rather than drug discovery and changed our policies accordingly in 2014. Rather than the top-down approach to research that has been carried out until now, where researchers and investigators would conduct research based on the themes and topics advised by Director of Research Activities, researchers would grow by setting themes based on their wishes and motivation and carrying out experiments. We believe that the laboratory should support this to foster young researchers and ultimately send them out to the world. To that end, we invited four prominent professors in organic chemistry to join the advisory board and a research advisor to provide their advice when needed. We are what we are today, thanks to the passionate debate held between researchers and the advices we have received through the operation of the foundation and the laboratory.
|Representative Director (President)||Motozo Shiono|
|Representative Director (Director of Research Activities)||Mitsuaki Ohtani|
|Board of Directors||Shuji Akai
| Tetsuhiro Ojiri
|Advisory board members|| Shuji Akai (Professor, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Osaka University)
Masayuki Inoue (Professor, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo)
Tomohiko Owada (Professor, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo)
Takeo Kawabata (Professor, Graduate School of Chemistry, Kyoto University)