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Professor Satoshi Obika, Bioorganic Chemistry, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences

 

Professor Satoshi Obika                                                                                      Bioorganic Chemistry                                                                                        Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences                                                 

"Breakthroughs and bridge building in Nucleic Acid Research"

Dr. Satoshi Obika is a pioneer in the development of artificial bridged nucleic acid, a breakthrough with enormous potential for novel drug discovery and screening. He has worked with his research collaborators to come up with new findings and developments relating to childhood liver cancer [1], refractory lung cancer [2] and Parkinson’s disease [3] in 2019. 

Tirelessly devoted to his research, Dr. Obika presses on in hopes of quickly delivering safe and efficient drugs to those suffering from diseases that are difficult to treat.

Trailblazing two-fold: A pioneer at a leader in nucleic acid research

The Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences is a leader in nucleic acid research in Japan, continually producing prominent researchers who contribute to the advancement of the research in this field and the development of new drugs to help people suffering from various conditions all over the world.

Dr. Obika is among such leading figures in nucleic acid research. Particularly, he developed a novel artificial bridged nucleic acid in 1997, a world-first breakthrough, when he was working with Professor Takeshi Imanishi. Artificial bridged nucleic acid has higher RNA-binding affinity and stability, and is now suppressing toxicity as the latest achievement.

Venturing forth: a venture company drives development

As a pioneer in development in his field, Dr. Obika actively collaborates with other researchers and industrial circles both inside and outside of Japan in order to deliver drugs as soon as possible to those in need. Osaka University Venture Capital (OUVC) plays an important role in accelerating this drug discovery. OUVC invested in Luxanabiotech, which was established in 2017 with the aim of practical application of the artificial bridged nucleic acid developed by Dr. Obika. “Thanks to the establishment of this venture company, joint work with other faculties at the university is steadily increasing and has even extended to overseas companies. It is the engine that drives further development of my research,” says Dr. Obika in appreciation of the contributions from OUVC.

Bridging more than nucleic acid: research and education beyond borders

Dr. Obika currently supervises 30 students, from undergraduates to doctoral candidates. He always hopes that his students will become experts who keep their patients best interests in mind, and is proud of the education system at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, which is coherent from the stage of basic research through application and practice. The standards and reputation of research and education at the School also attracts students from overseas. Since the early days of his laboratory, Dr. Obika has continually hosted students from the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. He and the Japanese students at his lab enjoy working together with the Bangladeshi students, mutually expanding their endeavors in research and education beyond borders.

 

[1] S. Matsumoto et al. GREB1 induced by Wnt signaling promotes development of hepatoblastoma bysuppressing TGFβ signalling. Nature Communications. Aug 28;10(1):3882. 2019. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11533

[2] M. Shimojo et al. A gapmer antisense oligonucleotide targeting SRRM4 is a novel therapeutic medicine for lung cancer. Scientific Reports 9, 7618. 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43100-1.

[3] T. Uehara et al. Amido-bridged nucleic acid(AmNA)-modified antisense oligonucleotides targeting α-synuclein as a novel therapy for Parkinson's disease. Scientific Reports. 9, Article number: 7567. 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43772-9.

 

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