J-Pharma Raises 1,746 million JPY in Funding

Yokohama, Japan, July 30th 2020 – J-Pharma Co., Ltd. (“J-Pharma”) has announced that it has raised 1,746 million JPY (16.32 million US dollars) as of July 30, 2020 from sixteen (16) new and existing investors in the Series D round, as described below.

From its establishment in 2005, J-Pharma, a clinical stage bio-venture company with a special focus on membrane transporters, has been conducting an array of unique drug developments by Hitoshi Endou, MD., Ph.D., formerly a professor of Kyorin University Faculty of Medicine. Recently J-Pharma has been placing the highest priority on the clinical development of its original inhibitors of L-type amino acid transporter 1 (“LAT1”) for the treatment of advanced cancer patients who failed to benefit from standard chemotherapy.

In this round, J-Pharma has been supported by 16 investors including Newton Biocapital I, S.A., a Belgium-based Venture Capital Fund (“Newton Biocapital”), SPERA PHARMA
, Inc., an IWAKI Group firm, (“SPERA”), and Ohara Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., , (“Ohara Pharmaceutical”).

By taking full advantage of the broad networks and deep expertise possessed by these corporations, J-Pharma is endeavoring to develop JPH203 for the treatment of refractory advanced biliary tract cancer, OKY-034 for the treatment of refractory advanced pancreatic cancer and LAT1 inhibitors for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. J-Pharma will continue to focus on the research and development of its own proprietary, innovative medicines in areas with high unmet medical needs in collaboration with leading research institutions around the world and to prove the clinical usefulness of these medicines through strictly controlled clinical studies.

Max Yoshitake, President & CEO of J-Pharma commented, “In the middle of the COVID-19

pandemic, investments by domestic and overseas venture capital firms, as well as by pharmaceutical companies with deep expertise, clearly show that our company’s fundamental drug development strategy with a special focus on membrane transporters, particularly LAT1, is highly regarded as an unique and valuable approach. By utilizing this fund, we must strive to the utmost to carry out well-controlled clinical studies of our original compounds inhibiting LAT1, a molecular target discovered by Dr. Endou, to prove the clinical usefulness of these compounds. Our ultimate goal is to deliver these medicines to patients with diseases for which there is no cure as soon as possible.”

Dr. Toshiyuki Mori, Investment Partner of Newton Biocapital, commented. “As Newton Biocapital’s second investment project in Japan, we are extremely pleased to have invested in J- Pharma. LAT1 is a unique, distinguished, and attractive molecular target not only for oncology but also for autoimmune diseases. By involving Newton Biocapital’s experienced members in drug R&D and our global business development experts, we are assisting J-Pharma in delivering novel medicines to patients with diseases for which there is no cure as soon as possible. We look forward to contributing to the further expansion of J-Pharma’s business.”

Mr. Toshio Yoshioka, President of SPERA, commented, “The IWAKI Group has been involved in a full-range of pharmaceutical business from the development, manufacturing and sales of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), to the development and sales/marketing of final pharmaceutical products. Among the affiliated companies of the IWAKI Group, SPERA is specialized in chemistry, manufacturing, and control (CMC) and providing pharmaceutical, bio- venture companies and academic research institutions with innovative solutions relating to drug R&D and manufacturing. I sincerely hope that our investment will contribute to the further progress of clinical developments at J-Pharma and serves as a milestone to explore the mutually, beneficial relationship between J-Pharma and the IWAKI Group.”

Dr. Seiji Ohara, President of Ohara Pharmaceutical, not only a major investor in the Series D round but also a business partner with respect to JPH203 in Japan, Asia and Africa, commented, “Ohara Pharmaceutical’s strategic focus has been to develop orphan drugs such as pediatric oncology products with the key objective of ‘addressing unmet medical needs.’ Challenging the development of treatment options for liver cirrhosis, biliary tract cancer (BTC) and pancreatic cancer is critical for the continuation and development of our business strategy to develop products which address unmet medical needs. J-Pharma’s development of the world’s first LAT1 inhibitor, JPH203, is an attractive opportunity to help patients suffering from end-stage BTC, and we sincerely hope that our investment will contribute to bringing this innovative new drug to

patients. Furthermore, as a global business partner to J-Pharma, Ohara Pharmaceutical will work closely with J-Pharma to accelerate the development and launch of JPH203 in Japan, then expand access of this critical treatment alternative to patients in regions such as Asia and Africa.”


  • Newton Biocapital I, S.A.
  • Ohara Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
  • OSAKA University Venture Capital Co., Ltd. (OUVC)
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co., Ltd.
  • SRD Co., Ltd.
  • QB Capital, LLC
  • MBL Venture Capital Co., Ltd.
  • Iwagin Jigyo Souzou Capital Co., Ltd.
  • KNC Laboratories Co., Ltd.
  • Mizuho Capital Co., Ltd.
  • Nippon Venture Capital Co., Ltd. (NVCC)
  • KSP, Inc.
  • Fidea Capital, Ltd.

About J-Pharma

Location Representative Director Business Activities Capital

Establishment Company Homepage

J-Pharma Co., Ltd.
75-1 Onocho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa Max Yoshitake, President & CEO Pharmaceutical Research & Development
50 million JPY (as of May 31, 2020)

26 December 2005

About JPH203 and OKY-034

JPH203 is J-Pharma’s original small molecule competitively inhibiting amino acid binding pocket of LAT1 which expresses on the cell membrane when a cell needs huge amounts of energy due to rapid proliferation and/or activation. JPH203 is the first LAT1-targeted compound undergoing

clinical studies and will become the first-in-class medicine if approved by competent authorities. J-Pharma confirmed its tolerability and preliminary efficacy in advanced solid cancer patients through a Phase 1 study, also discovered a biomarker capable of distinguishing a patient sub- population which would have less adverse events and to be more susceptible to JPH203. Using this biomarker as a companion diagnostic, JPH203 is now undergoing a Phase 2 clinical study for the treatment of advanced biliary tract cancer patients who failed to benefit from standard chemotherapy.

OKY-034 is a novel small molecule allosterically binding the LAT1 and holding the amino acid up-taking movements. J-Pharma executed a world-wide, exclusive license (with sub-license) agreement with Osaka University and KNC Laboratories Co., Ltd., both of which possess the composition patent for OKY-034. At Osaka University, a physician-sponsored Phase 1/2a clinical study of OKY-034 is underway for the treatment of advanced, unresectable pancreatic cancer patients who failed to benefit from standard chemotherapy.

About Newton Biocapital

Brussels, Belgium; Alain Parthoens, Managing Partner
Newton Biocapital is a Venture Capital Fund incorporated in Belgium, focused on financing biotech and life science projects in the “core of Europe” (B, NL, D, F) and Japan for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. The fund’s approach as lead investor is to support promising start-up projects as well as neglected or undervalued late-stage projects, in order to mitigate the risks and to create investor value. The leadership team consists of specialists with long-standing management and investor experience who coach bio-entrepreneurs through the development stages of their projects. Newton Biocapital’s mission is to generate substantial financial and societal value by providing innovative, breakthrough, and affordable solutions to patients

About SPERA PHARMA Co., Ltd.

SPERA was spun out from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda), and has taken over its part of CMC-related business unit on July 1, 2017. Subsequently, on March 2, 2020, Iwaki & Co., Ltd (listed as “Iwaki” on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange) acquired all the shares of SPERA in order to expand its R&D-oriented business in the fields of fine chemical and pharmaceuticals. SPERA has about 250 employees, including researchers and technical specialists in process chemistry, formulation and analysis, who worked for Takeda CMC with a wealth of experience in the R&D and manufacture of new drugs as well as LCM programs. They

have been engaged in contract R&D of pharmaceuticals as a partner company, supporting the pharmaceutical industry including Takeda, ventures and academia.

About Ohara Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Ohara Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. is a pharmaceutical company focused on the development and marketing of orphan drugs mainly in the field of pediatric oncology and on the development, manufacture, and marketing of generic drugs with innovative procedures taken to prevent medical accidents during use. In the current environment where innovative technology and medicines are improving clinical outcomes and altering existing medical practices, Ohara is expanding its business to look for innovation not only in treatment options, but also in areas such as prevention, diagnostics and patient care, which impacts the overall quality of healthcare. Ohara is aiming to become a company capable of providing “Total Healthcare Solutions” to patients.