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

Press Release From: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014

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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"

-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"

List 1: List of participaing academic organizations

No. InvestigatorAffiliated institution

1 Associate Professor, Kiyohiko Igarashi The University of Tokyo

2 Professor, Yoshihiro Urade International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, University of Tsukuba

3 Professor, Reiko Urade Kyoto University

4 Professor, Tetsuo Okutsu Gunma University

5 Professor, Kiyoshi Kita The University of Tokyo

6 Professor, Hisashi Kimoto Fukui Prefectural University

7 Professor, Teruyuki Komatsu Chuo University

8 Assistant Professor, Yasumitsu Sakamoto Iwate Medical University

9 Associate Professor, Naoki Shibata University of Hyogo

10 Associate Professor, Hideaki Tanaka Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University

11 Associate Professor, Masaru Tsunoda Iwaki Meisei University

12 Professor, Atsushi Nakagawa Institute for Protein Research, Osaka University

13 Assistant Professor, Masaki Nojiri Osaka University

14 Project Leader, Sam-Yong Park Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology

15 a guest Professor, Naotaka Hamasaki Nagasaki International University

16 Professor, Shigeharu Harada Kyoto Institute of Technology

17 Associate Professor, Yoshihiro Yamaguchi Environmental Safety Center, Kumamoto University

18 Associate Professor, Hiromi Yoshida Life 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 Spacecraft

    The 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. 

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