Astellas Venture Management and MBC BioLabs Announce the 5th Annual Astellas Future Innovator Prize

PR Newswire
Monday, September 18, 2023 at 10:00pm UTC

Astellas Venture Management and MBC BioLabs Announce the 5th Annual Astellas Future Innovator Prize

PR Newswire

  • Awardees win a year of access to a prestigious life-science incubator in San Francisco, CA and to Astellas expertise to further their research
  • Award helps biotech start-ups accelerate early drug discovery and research efforts

TOKYO and SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Astellas Venture Management LLC (President: William Watt, Ph.D., "AVM"), a wholly owned venture capital subsidiary of Astellas Pharma Inc. (TSE: 4503, President and CEO: Naoki Okamura, "Astellas"), and MBC BioLabs, a premier launchpad for early-stage life-science companies, today announced their collaboration on the Astellas Future Innovator Prize. The competition offers entrepreneurial scientists and emerging biotechnology start-ups one year's priority usage of MBC BioLabs' state-of-the-art lab Bay Area facilities and access to Astellas' research and development capabilities and business leaders.

With a shared commitment to discovering and advancing innovative science for patients worldwide, AVM and MBC BioLabs are continuing to support scientists and early-stage companies to accelerate their novel therapeutic programs, modalities and platforms.  Last year's winners were Bespoke Therapeutics and Cellinfinity. They were chosen for the potential of their innovations to deliver therapeutic advances for unmet medical needs.

"We are very excited to again host the Astellas Future Innovator Prize this year," said William Watt, President, AVM. "With our enduring collaboration alongside MBC BioLabs, our goal is to foster an atmosphere that nurtures innovation and great science. The Astellas Future Innovator Prize provides the necessary expertise and lab resources that helps biotech companies turn creative ideas into real solutions that have the potential to improve patients' lives around the world."

"We are delighted to continue our collaboration with Astellas in discovering tomorrow's scientific trailblazers," said Douglas Crawford, General Manager of MBC BioLabs. "Recipients of the Future Innovator Prize exemplify the possibilities that can be achieved with Astellas' backing, guidance and expertise alongside our laboratory incubator. We eagerly await the outcomes of our continued partnership."

Entrepreneurial scientists, emerging life-science and biotechnology start-ups have until November 3, 2023 to enter the Astellas Future Innovator Prize by submitting their non-confidential company presentation, including a one-page executive summary here.

About the Astellas Future Innovator Prize at MBC BioLabs

Astellas is offering up to two prizes for pioneering scientists with innovative research ideas that complement Astellas' areas of interest in alignment with its Focus Area Approach and pipeline, including Blindness & Regeneration, Mitochondria, Genetic Regulation, Immuno-Oncology, Cell Therapy, Targeted Protein Degradation, and other areas.

Companies awarded an Astellas Future Innovator Prize will gain a one-year priority admission or renewal to MBC BioLabs' state-of-the-art laboratory and access to Astellas' R&D scientists and business leaders. The competition is open from September 18 to November 3, 2023. Entrepreneurial scientists, emerging life-science and biotechnology start-ups should submit their non-confidential company presentation, including a one-page executive summary, here to be considered. The decision to award any Astellas Future Innovator Prize and the assessments underlying such decision, are solely within the judgment of Astellas and are not subject to any objection or appeal.

For further information, please visit the Astellas Future Innovator website where you can also find submission guidance for your non-confidential company presentation and executive summary.

About Astellas Venture Management LLC

AVM is the wholly-owned venture capital organization within Astellas, dedicated to supporting pre-clinical, cutting-edge science that can bring VALUE to patients. For over 15 years, AVM has provided equity investments to private, early-stage companies developing therapeutic programs and platform technologies, helping them to advance their innovations faster. AVM is a strategic investor, making investments in science that will enhance the current Astellas R&D pipeline or that can catalyze new directions in discovery research. For more information, please visit our website at

About Astellas

Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into VALUE for patients. For more information, please visit our website at

About MBC BioLabs

MBC BioLabs is dedicated to helping life-science startups succeed. By renting space as small as a single bench and providing these entrepreneurial scientists with access to millions of dollars of equipment, MBC BioLabs allows companies to be fast, focused, and frugal. It has four sites: two near the UCSF Mission Bay campus in San Francisco and two campuses in San Carlos, California. Each site has a complete molecular biology core facility that allows companies to do experiments on day one. MBC BioLabs has partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and life-science companies as well as a built-in venture capital firm, Mission BioCapital. These partnerships provide entrepreneurs with valuable insights about where to focus their efforts and accelerates the innovation pipeline. Since opening in 2013, MBC BioLabs has helped launch and grow 290 companies. These companies have brought 153 programs to the clinic, produced 17 approved diagnostics, and raised over $14 billion.

Cautionary Notes

In this press release, statements made with respect to current plans, estimates, strategies and beliefs and other statements that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements about the future performance of Astellas. These statements are based on management's current assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to it and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to: (i) changes in general economic conditions and in laws and regulations, relating to pharmaceutical markets, (ii) currency exchange rate fluctuations, (iii) delays in new product launches, (iv) the inability of Astellas to market existing and new products effectively, (v) the inability of Astellas to continue to effectively research and develop products accepted by customers in highly competitive markets, and (vi) infringements of Astellas' intellectual property rights by third parties.

Information about pharmaceutical products (including products currently in development) which is included in this press release is not intended to constitute an advertisement or medical advice.


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SOURCE Astellas Pharma Inc.