Otsuka Pharmaceutical established its Division of Ophthalmology & Dermatology in 1992 in order to discover, develop, produce and sell products that treat eye and skin diseases in people around the world. In these and other therapeutic areas, Otsuka has persistently taken the untraveled path on R&D, resulting in highly innovative new products.
For example, Otsuka developed a new dry eye treatment that takes advantage of the mucin- promoting properties found in the company's oral anti-gastritis and anti-gastric ulcer agent. The dry eye treatment is now widely used by patients in Japan.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical has formed a partnership with Acucela Inc., of the US The two companies are pursuing global development of innovative treatments for glaucoma, dry eye and dry age related macular degeneration.
The eyes and skin comprise much of the surface of the body and so drug innovations for ophthalmological and dermatological conditions literally can enable health recovery for the entire portion of the body that is visible. This way of thinking typifies Otsuka’s holistic approach to health.
The eye serves the critical function of sight by sensing light and converting it to impulses that can be understood by the brain. Among the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste, 80% of all human sensory input consists of information obtained through the eyes. Eye strain is characterized by symptoms such as tired eyes and headaches, while dry eye is characterized by eyes that are dry, gritty and painful.
The most common eye diseases in Japan are dry eye, cataracts, and glaucoma, while in the US, dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) is the leading cause of acquired blindness. AMD has also become more prevalent in Japan in recent years, and is currently ranked as the 4th most prevalent eye disease.