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  5. US Launch of EQUELLE, a Dietary Supplement to Support Women's Health

October 31, 2017

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.


US Launch of EQUELLE, a Dietary Supplement to Support Women's Health

EQUELLE as marketed in the US

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan; President: Tatsuo Higuchi) has announced the US launch of EQUELLE by US-based Otsuka subsidiary FoodState Inc. (Headquarters: New Hampshire, US; CEO: Robert Craven). EQUELLE, a dietary supplement containing equol, a soy product clinically shown to help reduce symptoms commonly experienced during menopause, will be available to healthcare professionals through Emerson Ecologics beginning October 30, 2017. The launch of EQUELLE in the US will be the first time that this dietary supplement is marketed outside of Japan.

The active ingredient in EQUELLE is equol, a metabolite of soy isoflavone daidzen, which can be produced through the action of intestinal bacteria when soybeans are consumed. While consumption of soybeans or soy isoflavones is expected to contribute to maintenance and improvement of women's health, Americans have few opportunities to consume soybeans*1, and only 20-30% of American women have the ability to naturally produce S-equol in their digestive tracts*2. EQUELLE is a convenient dietary supplement that lets women take advantage of the benefits of equol to manage menopausal symptoms.

In the US, the population of menopausal women is approximately 53 million*3, a number that is increasing annually. Hormone therapy or other pharmaceutical treatments are currently the most common ways to cope with symptoms experienced during the menopausal transition, but 66% of surveyed women indicated they would prefer a natural approach that did not rely on pharmaceuticals. The ratio of women who share this preference is increasing on an annual basis*4.

After many years of research into the benefits of soy, Otsuka Pharmaceutical discovered that equol can contribute to women's health, and extensive clinical research in Japan and the US has clarified the health benefits of equol. EQUELLE will be launched in the US with the structure/function claim of (1) reducing the frequency of hot flashes and (2) relieving muscle discomfort associated with menopause.
EQUELLE will contribute to the maintenance and improvement of women's health by offering US women who prefer a natural way to manage menopausal symptoms the option of a dietary supplement containing equol, produced when soy is fermented by lactic acid bacteria.

  1. 1Data source: 2007 Soybean Production and Consumption, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  2. 2Data source: Journal of Japan Society for Menopause and Women's Health, 20: 313-332, 2012
  3. 3In the US, menopause generally affects women between the ages of 40 -64. Population figures calculated from US Census Bureau estimates, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014
  4. 4Data source: The 2015 Gallup Study of Menopause Management Multi-sponsor Surveys, Inc.; n= 1018 (women aged 40-59)

EQUELLE (as marketed in the US)

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Equol-related Research and Development and Public Awareness Activities

Over many years of soy research, Otsuka Pharmaceutical has focused on the relationship between equol and the emotional and physical changes affecting women during the menopausal transition. Research into equol was initiated at the Saga Nutraceuticals Research Institute in 1996, and in 2002 Lactococcus 20-92, the lactic acid bacterium which produces equol, was successfully isolated. Both the Pharmaceuticals Business Division and the Nutraceuticals Business Division have conducted clinical studies in both Japan and the US using equol produced by fermenting soy germ with this lactic acid bacterium (naturally occurring as S-equol), resulting in numerous reports detailing the health benefits of equol.
Based on 18 years of research in Japan and overseas, EQUELLE was launched in April 2014 as a convenient way to consume equol on a daily basis.
In Japan, staff with expert knowledge stationed nationwide are supported by doctors and healthcare professionals in communicating the importance of proactive self care to women who are starting to experience changes associated with menopause, aiming to contribute to women's heath and enhance their quality of life.

  1. 5Nutraceuticals: nutrition + pharmaceuticals

About FoodState Inc.

US-based maker of nutritional supplements owned by Otsuka Pharmaceutical subsidiary Pharmavite LLC. A pioneer of plant-based supplements, FoodState produces and distributes premium supplement brands MegaFood (targeting the retail natural food channels) and Innate Response (targeting the professional health industry).

Information in this news release was current as of the original release date.

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