Saitama Bio-Project

At a Glance
  • Status: Completed Consortium
  • Year Launched: 2003
  • Initiating Organization: Saitama University
  • Initiator Type: Government
  • Disease focus:
    Alzheimer's Disease, Oncology
  • Location: Asia



Saitama University is a worldwide pioneer in developing evolutionary molecular engineering. Saitama Bio-Project began in 2003 to apply this evolutionary biotechnology to advanced bio-industries as a project in the Collaboration of Regional Entities for the Advancement of Technological Excellence (CREATE) Program of Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) under the name of Rational Evolutionary Design of Advanced Biomolecules, Saitama (REDS). The REDS project finished in 2007, and the Saitama Bio-Project continued as a project in the City Area Industry-academia-government Cooperation Support Program (Basic Stage) of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) from fiscal year 2007 to 2009 under the name of REDS2. The Saitama Bio-Project will continue for another three years as a project in the special program of MEXT for supporting the regional innovation under the name of REDS3, if Saitama Prefecture will be a successful applicant.

The aim of the City Area project (REDS2) is to develop the seeds of drugs to combat diseases such as cancer, metabolic syndrome, and Alzheimer-type senile dementia. This will be attained by novel biotechnologies based on evolutionary molecular engineering developed in metropolitan Saitama. The project also seeks to obtain new target biomolecules for drugs and to support the development of a new high-level bio-industry. Cooperation is encouraged between medical organizations, universities, research institutions, major companies, and ventures, with the aim of developing high-value seeds from “antibodies” and “peptide aptamers.” Thus, the project promotes the development of new drugs, the mechanisms of which are unique and in global demand. The project also seeks to develop a regional research and development (R&D) cluster that would contribute to the development of the regional economy.

The Antibody Group produced unique, advanced, monoclonal antibodies based on innovative homologous recombination techniques (the Autonomously Diversified Library (ADLib) system) and high-quality proteins using silkworms (Superworm system). This is also a novel gene-targeting technique. The Aptamer Group produced unique, advanced peptides (aptamers) based on innovative evolutionary molecular engineering techniques such as cDNA display method. Examples were antagonist aptamers against Ghrelin receptor, inhibitor and activator aptamers against Cathepsin E (a cancer-related protease), and aptamers against Amyloid protein.

Structure & Governance

The core managing organization is the Saitama Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation. The project director is Akira Horie. The chief scientist is Yuzuru Husimi (specified professor at Saitama University). The science and technology coordinators are Toshiatsu Kusaki and Koji Nishikori.

Sponsors & Partners


Asubio Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Chiome Bioscience Inc.

Enplas Corporation

Janusys Corporation

Katakura Industries Co. Ltd.

Kyushu University

Lifetech Co. Ltd.

Niigata University

Ochanomizu University


Saitama Cancer Center

Saitama Industrial Technology Center

Saitama University

Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.

Toyohashi University of Technology

University of Tokyo

Last Updated: 04/08/2016

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