Skip to main content

News All News

February 25th, 2021

Harvard University and Kyowa Kirin enter strategic research alliance

Multiyear collaboration to advance innovation in therapeutics and biomedical technology platforms

Cambridge, Mass. and Tokyo, Japan – February 25/26, 2021 – Harvard University and Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd. (Kyowa Kirin, TSE:4151) announce that they have entered into a strategic research alliance. The 5-year alliance, established by Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD), aims to fuel scientific collaboration among academic and industry researchers to accelerate discovery and early-stage innovation in translational biomedical science.

Kyowa Kirin is a Japan-based global specialty pharmaceutical company with drug discovery and commercialization capabilities focused in core therapeutic areas of nephrology, oncology, immunology and allergy, and the central nervous system. By creating opportunities for formal scientific collaboration, the alliance will leverage industry insight and drug development expertise to advance biomedical innovations developed in Harvard labs toward the clinical development of important new therapies.

“Fundamental research conducted in Harvard’s life-science labs expands our basic understanding of the biological mechanisms of disease and identifies promising new approaches to treatment,” said Vivian Berlin, Managing Director of Strategic Partnerships in Harvard OTD. “By building collaborative scientific relationships around the world, like this alliance with Kyowa Kirin, we are crafting an environment where industry leadership, resources, and new scientific perspectives may help to validate and develop those innovations toward life-changing treatments for the benefit of patients.”

“I am very pleased that Kyowa Kirin will have the opportunity to work and collaborate with the faculty at one of the world’s leading institutions to advance drug discovery and biomedical science,” said Yoshifumi Torii, Ph.D., Executive Officer, Vice President, Head of R&D Division of Kyowa Kirin. “One of our most important R&D strategies is to pursue external opportunities to generate scientific innovative value through strategic collaborations with industry and academia. I’m confident that this alliance will lead us toward novel and promising therapies for patients in the future.”

Projects under the alliance will be initiated by Harvard’s leading life-science faculty through a proposal process. Projects selected for funding and scientific collaboration will be identified by a Joint Steering Committee, comprising membership from both Harvard and Kyowa Kirin.

Harvard OTD’s long-running alliance program creates multi-year, collaborative relationships between the University and corporate partners. These alliances support faculty-initiated research projects that can advance early-stage discoveries and rapidly drive innovation in a broad area of science. In establishing discussions with Kyowa Kirin that led to the creation of this research alliance, OTD was assisted by Gemseki, Inc., a subsidiary of Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories (SNBL), a preclinical CRO in Japan.

About Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development

Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) promotes the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard University into useful products that are available and beneficial to society. Our integrated approach to technology development comprises sponsored research and corporate alliances, intellectual property management, and technology commercialization through venture creation and licensing. More than 70 startups have launched to commercialize Harvard technologies in the past 5 years, collectively raising more than $2.5 billion in financing. To further bridge the academic-industry development gap, Harvard OTD manages the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and the Physical Sciences & Engineering Accelerator. For more information, please visit

About Kyowa Kirin

Kyowa Kirin strives to create and deliver novel medicines with life-changing value. As a Japan-based Global Specialty Pharmaceutical Company with over 70-year heritage, we apply cutting-edge science including an expertise in antibody research and engineering, to address the needs of patients and society across multiple therapeutic areas including Nephrology, Oncology, Immunology/Allergy and Neurology. Across our four regions – Japan, Asia Pacific, North America and EMEA/International – we focus on our purpose, to make people smile, and are united by our shared values of commitment to life, teamwork/Wa, innovation, and integrity. You can learn more about the business of Kyowa Kirin at:

Media Contacts

Caroline Perry, Harvard Office of Technology Development

Hiroki Nakamura, Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd.

Tags: Alliances, Therapeutics

Press Contact: Kirsten Mabry | (617) 495-4157