Otsuka Pharmaceutical Tackles Leukemia and Other Blood Cancers

Cancer has one of the highest mortality rate of all diseases. In Japan, as well, it is the number one cause of death. That is why new drugs are eagerly awaited around the world. Otsuka established the Fujii Memorial Research Institute (originally the Biwako Research Institute) in 1983 and has been engaging in anti-cancer drug research, aspiring to help cancer patients worldwide. Today, we provides new treatment options, especially for blood cancers.

In 2008, Otsuka Pharmaceutical took over the entire business for the only drug for the conditioning regimen prior to hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and rolled out the business globally. As a pretreatment prior to hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation carried out in all forms of blood cancer, this drug is contributing to patients as a necessary drug that ranks alongside radiation therapy. In 2010, we
entered an alliance with Bristol-Myers Squibb in Japan, the US, and Europe
on a therapeutic drug for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Otsuka Pharmaceutical further strengthened its R&D structure in the field of oncology by welcoming the US-based bio-venture company Astex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., as a partner and subsidiary. Astex possesses proprietary molecular design-based drug discovery technology. Together, the two companies are carrying out innovative new drug discovery using a novel approach.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical aims to contribute to the field of oncology in both diagnosis and treatment, providing not only therapeutic drugs but also diagnostic pharmaceuticals. It has developed and markets products used in the monitoring of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Also, it has been marketing in Japan an international-standard in-vitro diagnostic reagent that can be used as a diagnostic aid and to monitor treatment effects in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Going forward, we will contribute to malignant hematopoietic disease through its diagnostic reagents business.

Blood Cancers

Blood cancers are proliferative diseases in which blood cells become cancerous. They are broadly divided into leukemia, malignant lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
Leukemia is broadly divided into four types: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is the most common, chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The treatment results for CML have improved markedly thanks to a new molecularly targeted drug developed in recent years. With respect to AML, on the other hand, a new drug has been wanted for many years. At present, it is common to perform hematopoietic progenitor cell transplantation after drug therapy.