Takeda and Whiz Partners Announce Creation of Joint Investment Fund,  Fund Aims to Promote Drug Discovery Ecosystem in Japan

Takeda and Whiz Partners Announce Creation of Joint Investment Fund,  Fund Aims to Promote Drug Discovery Ecosystem in Japan

August 3, 2018

-Fund Names Axcelead as First Investment-


Osaka and Tokyo, Japan, August 3, 2018 --- Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE: 4502) (“Takeda”) and Japan-based Alternative Asset Management Firm, Whiz Partners, Inc. (“Whiz”) today announced they have entered into an agreement to create a joint investment fund, aimed at promoting a drug discovery ecosystem in Japan. This investment fund will be called “Drug Discovery Gateway Investment Limited Partnership” (“DDG Fund”), and will launch in November 2018.

Under the terms of the agreement, Whiz will establish the DDG Fund and assume the responsibilities of the general partner. Takeda will invest Axcelead Drug Discovery Partners (“Axcelead”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda and a drug discovery platform company, in kind into the DDG Fund, in return for Limited Partner Shares. The DDG Fund will approach domestic and global financial investors and the biopharma/pharmaceutical industry to join the fund as limited partners. In this way, these strategic investments in academia and venture startups will help to realize innovative medicines and therapies supported by Axcelead.

Axcelead started its drug discovery platform business in July 2017, after being transferred from Takeda’s drug discovery research division, as the first integrated drug discovery solution provider in the Japanese pharmaceutical industry. Axcelead is equipped with all functions related to non-clinical drug discovery research and personnel with extensive skills, knowledge and experience in all fields. As such, Axcelead provides diverse and innovative healthcare institutions involved in drug discovery/development in Japan and other countries, with a one-stop solution service tailored to each of their needs. Furthermore, these services are offered in a wide spectrum of therapeutic areas, ranging from exploratory research and the optimization of candidate compounds to the process of bridging such initiatives to clinical development.

As a company independent from Takeda after the latter’s in-kind investment into the DDG Fund, Axcelead will provide a wide assortment of drug discovery services for not only Takeda but also other pharmaceutical companies and venture startups. By integrating strategic investments in academia and venture startups with experience and platform of drug discovery in Axcelead, the DDG Fund will lead the drug discovery ecosystem in Japan with the aim of achieving success as a fund.

“As exemplified by the launch of Shonan Health Innovation Park earlier this year, Takeda and its partners are committed to working with industry experts to collaborate and translate cutting-edge science into impactful health solutions for the benefit of patients in Japan and across the world,” said Dr. Toshio Fujimoto, General Manager of Shonan iPark. “We are pleased that the mission of the DDG fund aligns with this vision and that the drug discovery expertise Axcelead provides to partners in Shonan Health Innovation Park will now be accessible to a broad range of companies within the DDG investment fund, as well as potential new partners worldwide.”

“I believe that Japan has at last had an environment ready for establishing a drug discovery ecosystem, due to factors such as that bio-technology ventures have accumulated experiences, that capable human resources at pharmaceutical companies have become more liquid, that excellent seeds of drug discovery have grown even more promising, and that pharmaceutical companies with ample surplus funds are seeking to find effective investment opportunities for their sustainable growth,” said Tomoyuki Fujisawa, Chief Fund Manager of Whiz. “Establishment of the DDG Fund, which will mainly invest in Axcelead, with Takeda enables us to bring innovation to drug discovery in Japan.”

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE: 4502) is a global, research and development-driven pharmaceutical company committed to bringing better health and a brighter future to patients by translating science into life-changing medicines. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on oncology, gastroenterology and neuroscience therapeutic areas plus vaccines. Takeda conducts R&D both internally and with partners to stay at the leading edge of innovation. Innovative products, especially in oncology and gastroenterology, as well as Takeda’s presence in emerging markets, are currently fueling the growth of Takeda. Approximately 30,000 Takeda employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients, working with Takeda’s partners in health care in more than 70 countries.
For more information, visit https://www.takeda.com/newsroom/

About Whiz Partners, Inc.
Whiz Partners, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) is an alternative asset management firm with Growth Equity and Global Macro Hedgefund offerings. Whiz has a strong track record in HealthCare investments, now on its fifth fund. Through its former brand, CSK Venture Capital, Whiz financed the Japanese Biotech industry in its infancy. As Whiz Partners, it continues to provide growth capital primarily to micro-cap public entities. Whiz is headquartered in Tokyo with an office in Hong Kong.
For more information, please visit http://www.whizp.com.

For background information on the establishment of DDG Fund, please visit “Initiatives of DDG Fund and Axcelead in the Drug Discovery Ecosystem ‘Shonan Health Innivation Park.’”

Initiatives of DDG Fund and Axcelead in the Drug Discovery Ecosystem "Shonan Health Innivation Park"


Media Contacts:
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Kazumi Kobayashi
[email protected]
+81 (0) 3-3278-2095

Whiz Partners, Inc.
Administration Department
[email protected]
+81 (0) 3-6430-6773