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Research & Development

Basic Approach to Discovery Research

The Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma corporate philosophy is "to contribute to the healthier lives of people around the world through the creation of pharmaceuticals," and on that basis, we are working to continually discover new drugs that address unmet medical needs (medical needs for which there are no effective treatments or drugs).

To that end, we will advance “R&D process reforms” and conduct discovery research with a focus on “expansion of medical and discovery technologies.” Specifically, we will step up the utilization of open innovation with academic institutions and venture companies in Japan and overseas. We will also advance collaboration within the MCHC Group. In these ways, we will strive to contribute to healthy lifespans by working with a sense of speed to discover the drugs of the future, which will aim not only at the treatment of disease but also at prevention, remission, and complete cures.

Refractory Disease Initiatives

In June 2015, RADICUT® BAG for I.V. Infusion 30mg (generic name: edaravone; Japan product name: Radicut) received approval for an additional indication of ALS. This product received approval in South Korea in December 2015 and from the U.S. FDA in May 2017 (U.S. product name: Radicava). ALS is an idiopathic, progressive disease in which the principal symptoms are muscular atrophy and muscle weakness. In Japan, it has been designated as a refractory disease by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. There are said to be about 20,000 ALS patients in the U.S., with ALS emerging in 5,000 to 6,000 people every year. Nevertheless, there had been only one type of ALS treatment agent in the world, and a new type of ALS treatment agent was eagerly awaited. Radicava will help to address those unmet medical needs. It received FDA approval as the first new ALS drug in approximately 20 years. Radicava is expected to control the progress of ALS, and it will offer a new treatment option for ALS patients.

In addition, in 2002 Remicade was approved in Japan as the first biologic treatment agent for Crohn's disease. Approvals were received in 2007 for an additional indication of Crohn's disease maintenance therapy and in 2011 for a change in administration/dosage for an increased dosage for patients for whom effectiveness weakened at the typical dosage. However, for certain patients the effectiveness was not sustained even when the dosage was increased, and there was a strong need for a further change in administration/dosage. To address this need, in May 2017 the Company received approval of a partial change in administration/dosage for the implementation of treatment with a 4-week administration interval at 5mg/kg.

Moving forward, we will continue to advance R&D aiming to discover new drugs that address unmet medical needs.

Advancing Open Innovation

The environment for the discovery of new drugs is changing, and the difficulty of discovery has increased. In this type of environment, we are aggressively advancing open innovation to implement the sustained discovery of new drugs that have value for patients and on the medical front lines.

Advanced research in academia generates innovative ideas and discovery seeds, and we will strive to be the first to link those ideas and seeds to discovery research. In addition, we will introduce themes and technologies from outside the Company. In these ways, we will aim to increase the number of projects and raise the speed of R&D.
Furthermore, looking to the future of medicine, we will select discovery targets and indications and strive to discover pharmaceuticals through diverse drug discovery technology approaches.

We will work in collaboration with companies in the MCHC Group and utilize MP Healthcare Venture Management, an investment subsidiary, and Tanabe Research Laboratories U.S.A., Inc., an overseas research base. In this way, we will combine external R&D activities and our in-house core competencies in drug discovery and be the first to deliver original value to patients.