Company Profile

Management philosophy

Development of new cancer therapies that can maintain the quality of life of patients

Although remarkable progress has been made in cancer therapy in hand with great findings in cancer research in recent years, no radical treatment methods for advanced cancer are available. There is a dilemma of drug efficacy that, as it attacks cancer cells more potently, it also attacks the normally functioning body systems. There is no drug yet developed that can decisively solve this dilemma.

In addition to suffering from advanced cancer, patients are being burdened from the side effects of cancer treatments even now, and lose precious time that could be spent with their families and other special persons.

We hope to change this situation for patients with advanced cancer by developing novel drugs called “cancer immunotherapeutic agents,” which activate the patient’s own immune function.

Our major mission is to develop innovative cancer therapies that can maintain the quality of life of cancer patients based on the concept of cancer immunotherapy, and to make them available to patients worldwide at the earliest time possible.

Message from the President

We are dedicated to developing drugs that boost the body’s immune system, which controls cancer before its clinical manifestation. Our history dates back to 1992, when Dr. Kyogo Ito, the company's founding scientist, was appointed as Professor of the Department of Immunology of Kurume University School of Medicine after returning from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. GreenPeptide was founded in 2003, and since then we have continued the work in research and development in cancer vaccines that started more than 20 years ago.

It usually takes about 20 years to translate new scientific discovery into medicine. The first vaccine in the field of cancer immunotherapy was approved in 2009 by the FDA in the USA, a major global pharmaceutical market. Nearly 20 years had passed since Dr. T. Boon and his colleagues in Belgium established the molecular biological mechanism of the anticancer immune response in 1991. Following this breakthrough, clinical trials of immune checkpoint inhibitory antibodies were reported to show remarkable clinical efficacy. Currently, cancer immunotherapy is among the fields receiving great attention from pharmaceutical companies worldwide and from doctors engaged in cancer treatment. Although the situation has changed significantly, there was a period in which the role of the immune system in cancer therapy and the use of immunotherapeutic agents in clinical practice were considered debatable.

We are now conducting a phase III clinical trial of ITK-1 which is aimed to be the first approved cancer vaccine for advanced-stage cancer in Japan, and developing GRN-1201, hopefully the first cancer vaccine introduced from Japan to the global market. We have been able to overcome many difficult situations, and with the support of the strong wishes and enthusiasm of Professor Kyogo Ito and his group at Kurume University, many cancer patients who responded with their thoughts and participated in clinical trials, and the their families, we will continue our mission to realize cancer immunotherapeutic agents.

Many doctors and researchers encounter patients battling with cancer every day. They carefully consider ways to make the individual patients’ immune system function effectively against cancer in populations with different immune responses and different cancer cells. They are driven by the belief that cancer therapies that can maintain the patients’ quality of life will become feasible through the use of the body’s immune system.

We will sincerely continue to develop cancer immunotherapeutics to improve the quality of life of cancer patients while considering the thoughts of many doctors and researchers who are involved in cancer immunotherapeutics.

Kenichi Nagai
President and CEO
GreenPeptide Co., Ltd.


May 2003 The company was established at 67 Asahi-machi, Kurume-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture (capital 10 million yen)
January 2006 Start of phase I clinical trials of ITK-1 for castration-resistant prostate cancer.
November 2011 An exclusive license contract related to ITK-1 commenced with the FUJIFILM Corporation.
June 2013 Start of phase III clinical trials of ITK-1 for castration-resistant prostate cancer.
June 2015 Interim analysis performed in a phase III clinical trials of ITK-1 in castration-resistant prostate cancer indicated a relative certainty that the primary endpoint could be met by the time of the final analysis. The efficacy and safety review committee therefore recommended that the study proceed as planned.
October 2015 Start of phase I clinical trials of GRN-1201 for malignant melanoma in the U.S.
Listed on the Tokyo stock exchange (code:4594)
August 2016 Opened Kawasaki Research Laboratories at Tonomachi, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa.
January 2017 Start of phase II clinical trials of GRN-1201 with the concomitant use of an immune checkpoint antibody against non-small cell lung cancer in the U.S.

Company Overview

Head Office
Fukuoka Bio Incubation Center, 1-1 Hyakunenkoen, Kurume-shi, Fukuoka
Tokyo Branch
Kojimachi Central Building 7F, 2-2-4 Kojimachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Kawasaki Research Laboratories
Life Innovation Center 412, 3-25-22 Tonomachi, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa 
Established May 8, 2003
Capital 3,119million yen(as of December 31, 2016)
Number of Employees 31 people(as of December 31, 2016)

Management Team

Kenichi Nagai

Mr. Nagai has been in his current position with us since 2011. He was appointed as the CFO of our company in 2009. His previous position was as CFO of Perseus Proteomics Inc. (currently a subsidiary of FUJIFILM), which is a venture company for antibody pharmaceutical product seed development, since 2005. Including the years of service with our company, Mr. Nagai has had more than 10 years of experience as a manager of drug-developing ventures. Prior to that, he was involved in domestic and international M&A projects as a member of an advisory group at the Investment Banking Department of Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd.

Yutaka Waki, Veterinarian

Dr. Waki was at Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd, a middle-size pharmaceutical company, for 25 years in pharmaceutical development, including 6 years as Vice President of Kyowa Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary in the USA, until he finally became General Manager of Global Development. After leaving Kyowa, he served as the Director of Pharmaceutical Development at Shogoo Pharmaceuticals K.K., a venture company. Following his time there, Dr. Waki has served in his current position with us since 2014, and he is also the founding President and CEO of PointPath.Biz, K. K.

Teruhiko Sakai, Certified Public Accountant

In addition to considerable experience at an audit firm and major tax office, Mr. Sakai has occupied the position of a CFO at a business firm. Furthermore, he has previous experience working at two stock offerings (Oracle Corporation Japan, Double Click Co., Ltd.) in Japan and a stock offering of a Bio Venture in Singapore, and has held his current position with us since 2014.

Akira Yamada, Doctor of Medicine and Director and Professor, Kurume University Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy

After teaching immunology courses at the Kurume University School of Medicine, as well as working at the University of Kansas and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University, Dr. Yamada was appointed as a Professor at the Research Center for Innovative Cancer Therapy, Kurume University in 2003. He also served as the head of the Cancer Vaccine Development Division of the same Research Center. In the same year, he established this company with members of the immunology courses at the School of Medicine, Kurume University, and was appointed as the first Representative Director. He has held his current position with us since 2004.

External Director
Hirotaka Takeuchi, Doctor of Business Administration, Professor at the Harvard Business School and Honorary Professor at the Hitotsubashi University

Professor Takeuchi’s areas of specialization include competitive strategy, knowledge management, marketing (development of new products), and international business. He also has experience working for McCann Erickson and for McKinsey & Company, and won the “Best Book of the Year Award (Finance Field)” for his book “The Knowledge-Creating Company” from the Association of American Publishers in 1995. In 2015, he was appointed as the External Director of our company.

Internal Auditor
Yoshihiro Imai

After serving as an Assistant Manager and Review Section Manager at the Development Bank of Japan Inc., Mr. Imai also served as the Plan Adjustment Manager at the Institute for Future Urban Development. He then occupied the position of Manager of Research and Chief Researcher for the Japan Economic Research Institute and was the Head of the Accounting Department at the Marunouchi Heat Supply Co., Ltd. He has held his current position with us since 2009.

External Auditor
Taketoshi Abe

Mr. Abe served as the Head of the Legal Department for the Sankyo Company Ltd., (currently Daiichi Sankyo Company, Ltd.) and Auditor for the Post Genome Laboratory. He has held his current position with us since 2009.

External Auditor
Yoshiyasu Yamaguchi, Lawyer, TMI Associates

After leaving Yamaichi Securities Co., Ltd., Mr. Yamaguchi registered with the Tokyo Bar Association in 1991 and later joined TMI Associates. He later acquired the qualifications and license to practice law in the state of New York, USA, and after working for Simmons & Simmons Law Office in the UK, he has been serving as a partner at TMI Associates since 1999. Mr. Yamaguchi was appointed as an External Auditor of our company in 2015.