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Business Unit at Ohara Pharmaceutical

Orphan drugs (pharmaceuticals for rare medical conditions) business

In terms of demand, orphan drugs (pharmaceuticals for rare medical conditions) do not constitute a large share of the ethical drug market. However, since there are patients suffering from these disorders, there is a need for pharmaceutical companies to develop and deliver drugs for such patients. Ohara Pharmaceutical is involved in research and development as well as manufacture and distribution of many orphan drugs, including anti-cancer drugs, medications to treat leukemia.
We will continue in our endeavors as a company that cares for individual patients by actively incorporating technology from areas where rapid advancement is expected in the future. These include antibody medicines, and genetically modified pharmaceuticals.

Orphan Drugs for Childhood Cancers

Childhood cancers are relatively rare diseases, but they cause a serious threat to a child's life. Patients and their family members, together with medical care professionals involved in the treatment of Childhood cancers, constantly hope for new treatment options to become available for use.
In order to meet this unmet medical need, Ohara Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. will continue to proactively engage in research and development activities in order to identify and make available for use new treatment options.

While relatively rare, there are more than 50 types of childhood cancers. In Japan, the most common type is leukemia, followed by brain tumors, malignant lymphoma, and Neuroblastoma.

Padiatric Oncology in Japan (by Indication)

Orphan Drugs for Liver Cirrhosis

We have been progressing with the development of our new OP-724 (PRI-724) product for the treatment of liver cirrhosis caused by HCV.

In recent years, the advancement of antiviral agents against hepatitis C virus (HCV) has enabled the elimination of HCV infections, but there have been no effective treatment options for decompensated cirrhosis, which is severe cirrhosis.

OP-724 (PRI-724) has demonstrated some efficacy as a compound having the ability to improve liver fibrosis, which is a problem in liver cirrhosis. We are working diligently on the development of this compound in the aim of being able to provide this treatment option for liver cirrhosis patients.

OP-724 (PRI-724) inhibits hepatic fibrosis
Progress chart of Pipeline

Approaches to Parkinson's disease treatment

Ohara Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. contributes to improving the quality of life of the patients with Parkinson's disease by providing drugs that play central roles in Parkinson's disease treatment; we provide levodopa agents and agents act as dopamine agonist containing pramipexole.

Parkinson's disease is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's dementia. In addition to motor symptoms such as tremor, Parkinson's disease shows also various non-motor symptoms including autonomic disturbances and sleep disorders. The disease develops due to depletion of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. The prevalence of Parkinson's disease is considered to be 150 to 200 per 100,000 population. Parkinson's disease increases with age, and the incidence in persons aged 80 or older may be 1,000 times higher than persons under age 40.
Pharmacological therapy is the principal strategy for management of Parkinson's disease. Levodopa that supplies the decreased dopamine in the brain especially shows a high level of effectiveness with respect to the symptomatic treatment of parkinsonian motor features.
It is estimated that the number of patients in the major 10 nations in the world will be more than double from 4.1 million of 2005 to 8.7 million in 2030. Furthermore, the number of demented patients with Parkinson's disease has also been increased in accordance with the aging or the prolonged treatment period in patients with Parkinson's disease.

Message from Dr. Nobutaka Hattori

2017 is a symbolic year that will be exactly 200 years since Parkinson's disease was first reported by James Parkinson. At the present time, there is no complete cure for Parkinson's disease. With the progress of research and the developments of pharmacologic treatment and functional neurosurgery including deep brain stimulation (DBS), however, the deterioration of motor functions may be suppressed by early diagnosis and subsequent therapeutic interventions.

In pharmacologic management of Parkinson's disease, levodopa shows highly efficacy for improvement of motor features and is a “gold standard” in the treatment strategies. In fact, before levodopa-era, the survival rate of patients was approximately 70% for 5 years and approximately 40% for 10 years. However, it is reported that in post-levodopa era, these rates have been increased to approximately 90% and 65%, respectively. Dopamine agonists also play a central role in treatment of motor features in Parkinson's disease.

Recently, the concept of Continuous Dopaminergic Stimulation (CDS) attracts attention as corresponding to motor complications including wearing-off phenomenon that is a troublesome complication related to dopaminergic therapy of Parkinson's disease in advanced stage. Advances in pharmaceutical preparation on the basis of the concept of CDS contribute to the development of extended-release dopamine agonists. Recently, the administration system of levodopa intestinal gel delivered directly to the proximal jejunum is also clinically available in Japan.
Furthermore, combination therapy with dopaminergic agents, such as levodopa and dopamine agonists, and non-dopaminergic agents that act indirectly in dopaminergic system/metabolism is also an additional treatment strategy.

Living with hope is the most important in patients with Parkinson's disease receiving medical treatment. For smile and peace in life of patients with Parkinson's disease, we give advices to the latest treatment of Parkinson's disease and home care in each individual as experts.

From April 2014, The Department of Neurology, Juntendo University set up a new research laboratory with a view all to the stage of cell transplantation therapy for Parkinson's disease using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. It is our important mission to deliver a new treatment method to patients with Parkinson's disease as soon as possible.

Professor Nobutaka Hattori,
Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine,
Juntendo University
Nobutaka Hattori

Professor, Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Juntendo University

The Japanese Society of Neurology (Executive Board Member), Movement Disorders Society, (Archives Committee), Movement Disorders Society Asian & Oceanian Section (Chair-Elect), American Neurological Association (Corresponding fellow), Japanese Society of Neurological Therapeutics (Councilor), Movement Disorders Society Japan (Executive Committee), etc.