ACULYS was created to be a catalyst to innovation access for neurology patients and their families in Japan.

Message from CEO

Serving patients as a catalyst for access to innovative medicine

Aculys Pharma, Inc. was founded as Japan’s first biopharma company based on the philosophy of “Catalyst to Access”. Our goal is to become the leading provider of innovations for neuroscience diseases in Japan.

Our company was established to address two critical questions that arose during my time working for global pharmaceutical companies. First, I wondered why more wasn’t being done to help Japanese patients get access to more medications—Japan’s drug lag was a significant challenge for its citizens. And second, I wondered what more could be done to address the true needs of Japanese patients, and what was needed to help them live happier, healthier lives. Because medications alone were not enough.

At ACULYS, we are committed to speeding the pathway for medicines approved in other countries to those in need in Japan as quickly as possible. And to address social issues beyond medication, we are creating comprehensive support programs that go beyond the framework of conventional pharmaceutical companies, building partnerships with health tech companies and working to address the broader social factors that impact patients and their families.

With a focus on the unmet medical needs in neurology, ACULYS is leveraging our team’s expertise and agility as a startup to create positive change for patients, their families, healthcare professionals, and social as a whole. At ACULYS, we are dedicated to building a better world for all of those affected by neuroscience diseases.


We are a committed, passionate team focused on bringing new solutions to neurology patients in Japan. Through our expertise and focus on the patient, we aim to change the way sleep disorders are diagnosed, managed and treated.


BT Slingsby, MD, PhD, MPH
Co-founder & Executive Chairman

Takeshi Takahashi, MBA
Co-founder & Director

Hidemasa Tanigaki
Chief Executive Officer

Nobuo Hanai, PhD

Jay Shepard
Co-founder & Director

Ken Haas, JD

Mark Altmeyer

Hiroshi Sensaki

Shinsuke Numata
Audit & Supervisory Board Member

Masao Torii, MBA
Audit & Supervisory Board Member

Yuko Kanamaru
Audit & Supervisory Board Member

Corporate Overview

Company name
Aculys Pharma, Inc.
Date of establishment
January 22, 2021
the ARGYLE aoyama 6F, 2-14-4 KitaAoyama Minato-ku, Tokyo  Map
Number of employees
25 (as of November 1, 2023)
Hidemasa Tanigaki (Chief Executive Officer)
Main shareholders
Catalys Pacific, Softbank Vision Fund, HBM Healthcare Investments, GFC, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Investment, ANRI, JIC Venture Growth Investments, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, Spiral Capital
Business description
Development, import, manufacturing, and sales of prescription pharmaceuticals

Fund Raising

In March 2022, 14 months after the company was founded, ACULYS procured a cumulative total 9.6 billion yen in funding from venture capitalists in and outside of Japan experienced in the healthcare industry.


January 2021
Founded Aculys Pharma, Inc.
July 2021
Entered into a licensing agreement with French Bioprojet SCR on exclusive development and commercialization rights in Japan for the histamine H3 receptor antagonist / inverse agonist pitolisant
October 2021
Series A funding resulted in JPY 6.8B procured
November 2021
Entered into a licensing agreement with US Neurelis on exclusive development and commercialization rights in Japan and Asia-Pacific region for the nasal spray diazepam
January 2022
Initiated Phase 1 clinical trial for pitolisant
March 2022
Series B funding round resulted in JPY 2.8B
September 2022
Initiated Phase 1 clinical trial in Japan for diazepam nasal spray​
November 2022
Initiated Phase 3 clinical trial in Japan for diazepam nasal spray in patients with epileptic seizures, Initiated Phase 3 clinical trial in Japan for pitolisant in patients with narcolepsy
January 2023
Initiated Phase 3 clinical trial in Japan for pitolisant in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome who have excessive daytime sleepiness