La Jolla Institute renews longtime collaboration with Kyowa Kirin, Inc.

The signing extends one of the world’s most enduring alliances for drug discovery

LA JOLLA, CA and BEDMINSTER, NJ—La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) and Kyowa Kirin, Inc. (KKNA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kyowa Kirin Co., Ltd (Kyowa Kirin, TSE: 4151), a global specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced the signing of a new collaboration agreement. The agreement marks another milestone in one of the most enduring industry-academic collaborations in the world.

The three-year agreement continues a successful research alliance forged more than three decades ago between La Jolla Institute for Immunology, an academic non-profit and a world leader in immunology research, and Kyowa Kirin’s La Jolla laboratories, one of the company’s five global facilities focused on early-stage research and drug discovery. The new research agreement significantly increases annual funding and provides for more engagement of LJI faculty and Kyowa Kirin researchers. It will be active through the end of 2024.

“Immunological interventions are critical for the future of human health. To bring these to clinic, we must combine fundamental discovery of new targets and new interventions with expertise in running clinical trials and other aspects of drug development. Academic-industry relationships are essential in this endeavor,” says Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D., LJI President and CEO.

The continuing collaboration leverages Kyowa Kirin’s drug discovery, antibody engineering, and development capabilities and LJI’s pioneering expertise in fundamental immunological research to accelerate the translation of research discoveries into new therapies aimed at improving human health.

Saphire says the renewed agreement, “continues a long tradition of successful collaboration anchored in scientific excellence and mutual respect that has existed between our organizations for over three decades. It will further enhance our longstanding partnership, which has already advanced several LJI discoveries into clinical development.”

”Kyowa Kirin is committed to the discovery and development of novel medicines with the potential to address unmet patient needs. Identifying promising drug targets is the first step in the process of bringing medicines to market that make a profound impact on patients’ lives,” says Yoshifumi Torii, PhD, Executive Officer, Vice President, Head of R&D Division of Kyowa Kirin. “We are fortunate to work with LJI on those efforts.”

“Faculty at LJI stand out as thought leaders in immunological research, driving a better understanding of how immune responses are coordinated to fight disease and also the adverse effects of unchecked immune activation,” adds Andrew McKnight, Chief Research Officer and Head of Open Innovation, Kyowa Kirin North America. “Our research team has worked to apply these novel ideas to develop new treatments for diseases, including acute respiratory distress and atopic dermatitis.  We see great potential for further collaboration as we continue to grow our respective organizations.”

Under the terms of the agreement, La Jolla Institute will receive a combination of discretionary research funding, funds reserved for projects within Kyowa Kirin’s therapeutic areas of interest, with an emphasis on human translational potential, faculty recruitment and, for the first time, projects spearheaded by LJI postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. Kyowa Kirin will receive first rights to negotiate for a license to La Jolla Institute discoveries resulting from research projects funded under the agreement.


About La Jolla Institute

The La Jolla Institute for Immunology is dedicated to understanding the intricacies and power of the immune system so that we may apply that knowledge to promote human health and prevent a wide range of diseases. Since its founding in 1988 as an independent, nonprofit research organization, the Institute has made numerous advances leading toward its goal: life without disease. Visit for more information.

About Kyowa Kirin North America

Kyowa Kirin strives to create and deliver novel medicines with life-changing value. As a Japan-based Global Specialty Pharmaceutical Company, we apply cutting-edge science and 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 four global regions – Japan, Asia Pacific, North America and EMEA/International – we are united by our shared values of commitment to life, teamwork/Wa, innovation, and integrity, and a drive to advance innovations that have a profound impact on patients. You can learn more about Kyowa Kirin North America at: