Pharmaceutical Companies Participation in High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment on Kibo

JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata works on the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata works on the Combustion Integrated Rack (CIR) in the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will begin the first experiment of the second series for the High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment (PCG)*1 using the environment on the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” of the International Space Station (ISS). Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Interprotein Corporation will participate in the experiment.

Other than those companies, 18 academic organizations including universities will also join the experiment (as shown in List 1 below).

One of our objectives of the second series of the JAXA PCG is to contribute to enhancing Japan’s industrial competitiveness by leveraging our world-class high quality PCG technology and knowhow in space that has been fostered. For fulfilling that objective, we established a new system*2 to facilitate application of our technology and knowhow by private companies such as an introduction of a trial-use system.

We are confident that JAXA PCG will contribute to the progress of research and development for medicine, industrial enzyme, and other areas by acquiring precise 3D protein structure data, which is the JAXA PCG target, and understanding the function of protein based on the precise structure data. We will conduct six experiments in space in total by regularly performing an experiment once every six months.

Reference links: Related information on each company’s website

Press release dated March 20, 2014 from Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
“Chugai to Participate in High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment in the International Space Station, “Kibo,” as Private Company”
http://www.chugai-pharm.co.jp/hc/ss/english/news/detail/20140320103000.html
Press release dated March 20, 2014 from Interprotein Corporation
“Participation of Interprotein in the space experiment for generation of high-quality protein crystals in Kibo”
http://www.interprotein.com/

List 1:List of Participating Academic Organizations

No.InvestigatorAffiliated institution
1Associate Professor, Kiyohiko IgarashiThe University of Tokyo
2Professor, Yoshihiro UradeInternational Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, University of Tsukuba
3Professor, Reiko UradeKyoto University
4Professor, Tetsuo OkutsuGunma University
5Professor, Kiyoshi KitaThe University of Tokyo
6Professor, Hisashi KimotoFukui Prefectural University
7Professor, Teruyuki KomatsuChuo University
8Assistant Professor, Yasumitsu SakamotoIwate Medical University
9Associate Professor, Naoki ShibataUniversity of Hyogo
10Associate Professor, Hideaki TanakaInstitute for Protein Research, Osaka University
11Associate Professor, Masaru TsunodaIwaki Meisei University
12Professor, Atsushi NakagawaInstitute for Protein Research, Osaka University
13Assistant Professor, Masaki NojiriOsaka University
14Project Leader, Sam-Yong ParkKanagawa Academy of Science and Technology
15a guest Professor, Naotaka HamasakiNagasaki International University
16Professor, Shigeharu HaradaKyoto Institute of Technology
17Associate Professor, Yoshihiro YamaguchiEnvironmental Safety Center, Kumamoto University
18Associate Professor, Hiromi YoshidaLife Science Research Center, Kagawa University

Note 1: Outline of the first experiment of the second series for the High-Quality Protein Crystal Growth Experiment (PCG)
The first series was performed between 2009 and 2013 with six space experiments. The second one consists of six space experiments again from 2014.The first experiment for the second series will be as follows.

Launch date: March 26, 2014
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
Scheduled return date: May 14, 2014
Landing location: Kazakhstan
Return flight: By Soyuz SpacecraftThe first experiment of the second series will be supported by Astronaut Koichi Wakata, who now resides at the ISS.

Note 2: Private Company Participation System
In addition to our conventional way of providing experiment opportunities to private companies, we offer a package of our space experiment preparation knowhow* and a chance to conduct a world-class leading-edge space experiment.Also, by utilizing our trial-use system, which has been newly set up, a private company can actually verify and determine the effectiveness of using the Kibo prior to paying.(*) The knowhow includes verification technology of protein quality, removal technology of impurities in protein liquid, and how to find conditions to grow high-quality protein crystallization in space.