Hideaki Matsuoka, formerly venture unit head at the pharmaceutical firm’s accelerator programme, has become head of ideation and creation.

Hideaki Matsuoka

Japanese pharmaceutical firm Astellas Pharma has appointed Hideaki Matsuoka as head of ideation and creation for its startup accelerator scheme.

Matsuoka was Astellas’s venture unit head focusing on engineered phage therapy at the Discovery Accelerator for four years from 2020. Before that, he was an executive director of drug discovery research for a year.

Launched in 2021 as part of Astellas’s research organisation reform, Discovery Accelerator helps the firm identify and launch innovative drug candidates.

In August 2023, Astellas expanded its open innovation and research coverage to the US by launching a new hub in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The 62,000 square feet (5,760 square metre) space includes a few hundred team members, including those working for the Discovery Accelerator scheme as well as staff in dealmaking, research and development roles.

The firm also runs a San Francisco-based startup investment arm called Astellas Venture Management. It has most recently backed NeoPhore, a UK small molecule neoantigen immuno-oncology therapy developer, in a £9.6m ($12.2m) series B round in February this year.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.