Our Scientists

With a commitment to discovery, innovation, and excellence, our scientists carry out cutting-edge research that helps contribute to a healthy future for people around the world.

Research for recombinant biopharmaceuticals

Section 2, Research Department, R&D Division

Mai Harada

MAgr.
Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental Sciences, Kyushu University

Mai Harada

MAgr.
Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironmental Sciences, Kyushu University

A good researcher should possess unlimited curiosity and enthusiasm in order to understand the fundamentals of their work, according to Mai Harada, a researcher in recombinant protein engineering. “We are expected to identify different functions from multiple aspects, so it is essential to go back to the basics and review the principles every once in a while,” she says. To do so, Harada encourages close cooperation between researchers to collect valuable information, spark engaging discussions, and exchange useful literature. This has benefited her work by providing plenty of opportunities to accurately determine her research needs.

Looking ahead, Harada is interested in the capabilities of genome editing technologies and how it can help her field of research. Ultimately, she hopes it will contribute to a healthier future for people around the world.

Research of biopharmaceuticals

Manager, Section 1, Research Department, R&D Division

Masaharu Torikai

MPharm.
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyushu University

Masaharu Torikai

MPharm.
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyushu University

Making a positive contribution to society fuels Masaharu Torikai’s research. On the topic of research, he says, “It is a series of trials and errors, so it is important to remain optimistic about new possibilities, while also being pragmatic enough to arrange alternatives.” Torikai believes that successful research cannot be achieved without effective teamwork and communication. It’s also helpful to be humble in the face of nature. “Discoveries should be achieved by listening to nature through the dialogue called experiments,” he observes.

For Torikai, it is an exciting time to work in the field of biotechnology. Significant technological progress is being made, especially in genetic modification and antibody engineering. And with Torikai and his team’s expert knowledge in these areas, they can undertake research that will benefit society by creating new vaccines and medicines that aren't available yet.

Research and development of vaccines against
pediatric infections

Manager, Section 3, Development
Department, R&D Division

Shinji Akasaki

MEng.
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Kagoshima University

Shinji Akasaki

MEng.
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Kagoshima University

When Shinji Akasaki carries out research, he does so with a strong determination and clear objective. He is always eager to understand the purpose of his research in order to address social problems. He challenges current research, seeking ways to develop them further. “As a researcher, it is important to be a pioneer who has a dream for the future and challenges tackles the unknown,” he says.

Akasaki specializes in the development of pediatric vaccines. One concern of his is that the current childhood immunization schedule in Japan is too tight and places too much burden on children being immunized. Consequently, he is determined to develop new combination vaccines that can address this problem. He goes on to say, “Pharmaceutical manufacturers should not only provide quality medical products, but to also meet the needs of both patients and healthcare providers.” One way of doing this is by providing products that are safe and easy to use. This mentality has spurred Akasaki on to develop unique products using KM Biologics' biotechnology.

Toxicology of vaccine Research and development of fibrin sealant

General Manager, Non‐Clinical
Study Department, R&D Division

Noriko Shinya

D.V.M
Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University

Noriko Shinya

D.V.M
Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University

As General Manager of the Non‐Clinical Study Department, Noriko Shinya has the big responsibility of developing safe drugs before clinical trials. She does so by collaborating closely with the CMC and Clinical Development departments to design successful animal testing procedures. She also trains her staff to deepen their knowledge and understanding in not only the field of non‐clinical safety, but also in bordering disciplines. “I repeatedly impress upon my team to conduct religious toxicological profiling, imagining that they are administering the drugs to their family members, so that no one suffers health hazards from overlooked toxicity of the drugs,” she says.

Shinya is passionate about researching and developing vaccines that alleviate discomfort, require smaller doses, and are less burdensome on children overall. She is also interested in the potential of fibrin sealant in her line of work. In particular, its potential as a biomaterial for extensive use in tissue engineering.

Research and development of vaccines for viral infectious deceases, especially flaviviruses

Manager, Section 5, Development
Department, R&D Division

Yasuhiko Shinmura

MEng.
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Kagoshima University

Yasuhiko Shinmura

MEng.
Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Kagoshima University

Researchers should always base their actions on developing and providing high-quality medicines the world needs, and in the most efficient way possible shortest possible way. “One way of doing this is to improve our skills through experience,” observes Yasuhiko Shinmura. He goes on to add that developing a team’s mindset and skills, as well as working alongside other departments and external experts, is the fastest and most efficient way to achieving this goal.

Shinmura’s current focus of attention is developing vaccines against global viral infectious diseases such as Dengue and Zika. Development of such vaccines requires not only immune response assessments elicited by the vaccine candidates, but also global clinical development, including pivotal studies to show the vaccine efficacy against natural virus infection in the epidemic areas. His belief in the power of teamwork drives his research forward as he strives to build strategic partnerships with those who also want to jointly develop promising vaccines that help improve global public health.

Vaccine against
the disease of pigs

Development Section, Development
Department, Animal Pharmaceuticals Division

Takashi Waki

D.V.M.
Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Yamaguchi University

Takashi Waki

Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of
Agriculture, Yamaguchi University,
Doctor of Veterinary medicine

Remaining objective and removing biased opinion is one of Takashi Waki’s guiding principles when conducting research. He also believes that good research should be empirically-oriented rather than theory-oriented. For Waki, being positive and hands-on towards research produces the best results, which can unearth new discoveries and address pressing issues.

Waki is eagerly looking towards the future of biologics, and is particularly interested in next-generation edible vaccines, especially since there has been a rise in diarrhea and respiratory diseases in farm animals. These vaccines can induce mucosal immune responses against gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, which will result in healthier livestock and more nutritious food.