2021.12.02 Press Release

Axcelead and FRONTEO Started the Joint Project “Druggable Target 1000” to Evaluate Drug Targets with AI ― Dramatically Increase Efficiency of Drug Discovery Business by Comprehensively and Objectively Analyzing the Potential of Drug Targets

We are pleased to announce that Axcelead, Inc.(Located in Minato-Tokyo, President & CEO, Tomoyuki Fujisawa, “Axcelead”)and FRONTEO Inc. (Located in Minato-Tokyo, President & CEO Masahiro Morimoto, “FRONTEO”) have signed the agreement on the joint project which is called “Druggable Target 1000”, to analyze the potential of drug targets in drug development using AI.

The development of a new drug can be divided into three major processes: the search for target molecules as drug candidates, non-clinical testing using animals, and clinical testing to verify the effects and impact of the drug by actually administering it to humans. Only one in 20,000 to 30,000 of the candidate compounds that look promising in the early development stage can actually be commercialized as a drug, requiring a development period of 10 to 15 years. Since the average cost of developing a new drug is more than 150 billion yen, the biggest challenge for the pharmaceutical industry is to improve the efficiency of drug development. In addition, in recent years, the number of articles subject to medical article analysis, which is essential for the selection of new drug candidates, has rapidly increased to more than 20 million, making it impossible to read the information by human power alone, and making it difficult to conduct comprehensive and non-biased verification and the difficulty of conducting comprehensive and non-biased verification has become a major problem in improving the efficiency of drug development.

In this joint project, information on promising drug targets owned by Axcelead will be analyzed by FRONTEO’s independently developed AI “Concept Encoder”, comprehensive and objective evaluation will be made from the vast amount of medical article information. This will make it possible to re-evaluate not only new drug targets, but also drug targets that have been abandoned for drug development. In addition, this joint project will be integrated with the new drug discovery platform business “A-Digital”, which is based on Axcelead’s world-class R&D capabilities, with a view to realizing the “industrialization of drug discovery”. The industrialization of drug discovery is expected to improve the efficiency of drug development by more than 100 times compared to conventional drug discovery methods.

FRONTEO and Axcelead will contribute to human health by building an innovative drug discovery and development platform by combining the strengths of both companies in the drug discovery business.

The impact of this transaction on FRONTEO’s business performance for the current fiscal year is expected to be minimal, but we will promptly announce any matters requiring disclosure.

■About Axcelead  URL:

Axcelead, Inc. is a group of companies that develops a drug discovery platform business centered on Axcelead Drug Discovery Partners, Inc. (ADDP), Japan’s first integrated drug discovery solution provider, which took over Takeda’s drug discovery platform business in 2017. Axcelead, is the flagship portfolio company of Drug Discovery Gateway Fund, which was jointly established by Whiz Partners, Inc., and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Co., Ltd., in 2018, with the aim of promoting the drug discovery ecosystem in Japan and will make various contributions to healthcare broadly and globally. For more information on Axcelead, please visit the company’s website at


FRONTEO, Inc. is a data analysis company established in August 2003. It supports information analysis using its in-house developed three AIs: natural language processing AI (artificial intelligence) engines “KIBIT” and “conceptencoder”; network analysis AI “LoocaCross”.  It has expanded its business mainly in LegalTech field focusing on eDiscovery support and digital forensics investigation. Offices are located in Japan, the United States, South Korea, and Taiwan. Since 2014, by leveraging its AI technology cultivated in this field, FRONTEO has expanded its business into business intelligence field and now is offering services in the life science field and economic statecraft.

Using its AI engines, FRONTEO offers various services including: drug discovery support, dementia diagnosis support, business efficiency improvement in financial/HR/sales fields. 

Listed on TSE Mothers on June 26, 2007. Obtained a First-class Medical Device Manufacturing and Sales license on January and registered as selling Controlled Medical Devices on September 2021. The capital is 2,973,975 thousand yen (as of March 31, 2021).

■About Concept Encoder URL:

Concept Encoder is a natural language analysis AI (artificial intelligence) developed by FRONTEO especially for the life science field in 2018, with the aim of effectively analyzing and utilizing medical data containing a large amount of free-form text data. The feature of this AI is that it can co-analyze text data and non-text data. We are conducting research on co-analysis with numerical data such as gene expression information, vitals, and various test values that have accumulated in the life science field. 

Patent Registration Number: 6343667.

※FRONTEO、KIBIT、conceptencoder are registered trademarks of FRONTEO in Japan.