Osaka University
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

April 15, 2022

Osaka University and Otsuka Pharmaceutical to Enter into an Exclusive License Agreement on New Anti-tumor Antibody

Osaka University and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Otsuka) announce today that Osaka University and Otsuka entered into an exclusive, worldwide license agreement for Otsuka to use R8H283, a novel antibody that recognizes the CD98 heavy chain identified by Osaka University, in its pharmaceutical and medical products.

R8H283 is an anti-CD98 heavy-chain antibody that was identified by a research group led by Professor Naoki Hosen (Department of Hematology and Oncology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine). CD98 heavy chain is a protein expressed in a wide range of tissues. However, R8H283 binds specifically to multiple myeloma. In February 2022, Osaka University announced that R8H283 showed significant anti-tumor effects in an animal model study.
(February 2022, Science Translational Medicine, Osaka University press release)

Upon consummation of this agreement, Otsuka will make an up-front payment to Osaka University, as well as development and sales-milestone payments and sales royalties. Otsuka will exclusively perform non-clinical research, clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization of products utilizing R8H283, including ethical drugs as well as regenerative medicine products such as CAR-T cell therapy products.

Dr. Toshiki Sudo, board member for Research and Intellectual Property at Otsuka Pharmaceutical noted, "We are very pleased to in-license this promising new antibody from Osaka University. MMG49 CAR-T (development code: OPC-415), in-licensed from Osaka University in August 2018, has currently advanced to Phase I/II clinical trials. We hope that this agreement will lead to the development of new therapeutic agents and regenerative medicine products for malignant tumors."

Professor Naoki Hosen (Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University) commented, "R8H283, a unique multiple myeloma-specific antibody, has the potential to be applied not only to antibody drugs but also to various other medical products, including CAR-T cells. In addition, this antibody could be applicable to other types of cancer. We believe that this agreement is very important in bringing these products to patients as soon as possible. We will continue our efforts to conduct research that will be useful in the treatment of patients suffering from cancer."


The Osaka University research group identified R8H283, an antibody that binds to the CD98 heavy chain expressed in myeloma. The results of the study suggest that the difference in glycosylation of the CD98 heavy chain expressed on myeloma cells and normal blood cells may be responsible for its myeloma specificity. Furthermore, in experiments using mice, they showed that administration of R8H283 specifically eliminated only myeloma cells without damaging normal cells.

The results of this research were published in the U.S. scientific journal Science Translational Medicine on February 16, 2022. (Title: Selective targeting of multiple myeloma cells with a monoclonal antibody recognizing the ubiquitous protein CD98 heavy chain)

(February 2022, Osaka University press release)

CD98 Heavy Chains

CD98 heavy chains are expressed in various tissues and function as amino acid transporters by forming heterodimers with CD98 light chains on the cell membrane. In addition, CD98 heavy chain is known to be highly expressed in several cancer types.

Multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a hematological cancer in which plasma cells producing antibodies in the bone marrow become malignant, undergo unregulated proliferation, and eventually accumulate. In recent years, its treatment options have increased and the lifespans of many patients with multiple myeloma have been extended. While treatable, it is generally not yet curable.

CAR-T cell therapy

CAR- (chimeric antigen receptor) T cell therapy is a type of treatment in which a patient's T cells (a type of white blood cell with a key role in immune defenses) are altered so they will attack cancer cells. A gene for a special receptor that binds to a certain protein on the patient's cancer cells is introduced to the T cells. The special receptor is called a chimeric antigen receptor.