Otsuka Podcast

The latest news from Otsuka's global team of professionals working to create new products for better health worldwide.
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Welcome to Otsuka Podcast, featuring stories of change from Otsuka Pharmaceutical's global team.

Please visit us at for more stories and to see the photos and videos that accompany these episodes.

Feb 1, 2018

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On January 25, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) honoured Dr. Harren Jhoti, president & CEO of Astex, UK (an independent subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical) with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Award was presented by Dr. Jane Osbourn (BIA Chair) at a dinner attended by 700 professionals from the UK life sciences sector. Dr. Osbourne commented, “Harren’s contribution to the UK biotech sector recognises his combination of scientific and leadership skills, as well as his passion and determination to succeed. [...] He makes an active contribution to initiatives in the UK biotech sector and provides a role-model for today’s entrepreneurs.”

On receiving the award Dr. Jhoti paid tribute to the three scientist-entrepreneurs with whom he co-founded Astex in 1999, and to his team, saying, “As scientists we always hope that our discoveries will make a difference and as entrepreneurs we strive to build sustainable companies to translate those discoveries into significant new medicines for patients. At Astex we have been lucky enough to achieve both of these goals due largely to our highly talented team.” Dr. Jhoti also commented how Astex is now thriving as an independent subsidiary of the Otsuka group of companies.

At Astex, Dr. Jhoti and his current and former colleagues have made pathbreaking progress in fragment-based drug discovery, which identifies and assembles small chemical fragments to produce drug leads with strong binding affinity to biological targets.
To date, one such lead has been pursued by a drug

maker all the way through to regulatory approval in the US and EU for use in patients with a type of advanced breast cancer.

The BIA is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience and the Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest accolade given by the BIA.

Dec 13, 2017

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Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) team Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) joined together to mark Mental Health Awareness Week at Charlotte, North Carolina on October 7th and 8th, 2017.

In the US, NASCAR is second only to American Football as the most popular sport in the country in terms of both television viewers and live spectators.

Fans are attracted to the high-octane excitement of watching the cars hurtle along the circuit at over 220 mph, sometimes with only a few centimetres between them. Thrills and crashes are common place.

There are few people in the world better used to dealing with the pressure and stresses of the racetrack than these drivers.

Drawing from his experience, CGR’s Japanese - American driver, Kyle Miyata Larson, kicked off a roundtable discussion with Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America, which focused on managing stress, mental illness, and the importance of monitoring mental health.

“I’m proud to be partnering with Otsuka and Mental Health America to raise awareness of mental wellness, and to encourage those living with a mental illness to seek treatment and support,” said Larson.

“I am helping them break the stigma associated with mental health – and remember that mental health is also about dealing with stress, anxiety and depression, and many people go untreated or undiagnosed. I am here to help change the status quo and to help reverse the harmful effects of the stigma.”

The event also coincided with two days of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. The Otsuka logo featured on both competing CGR cars. After a day of waiting for the rain to stop and the track to dry, fans saw driver Alex Bowman take the chequered flag with his first-time ever win in a NASCAR XFINITY Series race, and bring our Otsuka logo along with him for the ride.

Larson had less luck in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, as he was unfortunately hit from behind during the final laps. He persevered nonetheless with sparks flying from the rear, but ended with a 10th place finish.

“Overall this was a great weekend for Otsuka and the mental health community,” said Kabir Nath, president and CEO, North America Pharmaceutical Business, Otsuka America Inc.

“It was an honor to collaborate with Chip Ganassi Racing, Kyle Larson, and Mental Health America to champion mental wellness.

We are excited for the opportunity to reach NASCAR fans and have them join us in our efforts to help drive awareness while reducing the stigma of mental illness.”

Kyle Larson was the first Asian-American driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race, stock car racing's highest level, at the 2016 Pro Michigan 400.

Aug 24, 2017

Sports are good for the body, mind and spirit. Participating in sports boosts self-esteem, team-work and leadership skills, and provides a channel for young people to relieve stress. Five years ago, the Korean Ministry of Education launched an initiative to encourage sports club activities in schools. In support of this initiative, Donga Otsuka, an Otsuka affiliate and manufacturer of POCARI SWEAT for the Korean market, launched a tournament intended to help young people learn the twin values of sports, through playing futsal, and mental strength, to be a hero.

On May 28, 2017, the fourth annual “FUTSAL HEROES” finals tournament was held in Seoul, South Korea. The competition saw the fourteen teams that had qualified in the preliminary rounds held in Seoul, Daejeon, Daegu and Busan compete in the finals. The finals took place at the Korea Media Center in Seoul, and drew large crowds of supporters and well-wishers to enthusiastically cheer the teams on.

This year’s winning team, Banpo Middle School from Seoul, celebrate their second consecutive win of the tournament. Speaking about the competition, one student said, “In normal life, we get a lot of stress with studying. But, participating in the futsal competition was an experience. We had a great time in preparing for the games and it was fun to take part with my friends. We are so happy to win this year again!”

Four years ago, the first tournament was held between 128 middle schools in the Korean capital of Seoul. From these beginnings, the tournament has grown year on year to include more schools from across the country. Last year, middle schools from Busan were added, and this year the tournament was expanded to include schools from Daejeon and Daegu. In the past four years, futsal teams from approximately 600 schools, totaling about seven thousand young people, have participated so far. In 2018, "FUTSAL HEROES" will be held in six major cities in South Korea.

This year also marks the 30th year since POCARI SWEAT was launched in South Korea. Donga Otsuka in participation with education departments and schools, holds briefing sessions to students on the importance of hydration. POCARI SWEAT is available in 20 countries and regions across Asia and the Middle East. It is the organizers’ hope that the tournament will expand to include teams from other Asian countries as well. Their big dream is that in the future school teams will represent their nations in an international tournament. Going forward, Otsuka Pharmaceutical and its affiliates will continue to support sports at all levels and their contribution to health to all ages.

Jul 7, 2017

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On April 22, 2017, the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Foundation honored Otsuka Pharmaceutical for our long-standing and successful commitment to develop an innovative, first-in-class drug treatment for autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and for its collaboration with the foundation.

 “Working together with basic science funded by PKD Foundation and the research and development capabilities of Otsuka, tolvaptan has become the first drug approved in Japan, Canada and the European Union, hopefully this landmark drug will soon become available in the United States as well for the treatment of ADPKD. The Foundation applauds the unwavering commitment of Otsuka to bring this important new therapy to the marketplace. It is for this persistence and recognition of the unmet medical need of PKD patients in the US and worldwide that the PKD Foundation has honored Otsuka at its Gratitude dinner in San Francisco this spring”, said Andy Betts, the chief executive of the PKD Foundation.

 Yoshitaka Yamamura, a researcher at Otsuka’s Tokushima Research Institute who pursued research on the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin for decades, and Frank Czerwiec, vice president of Global Clinical Development at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc., who was deeply influential in initiating and steering the global development of tolvaptan for ADPKD, accepted the award on behalf of the company.

For over 20 years, Otsuka has pursued developing a treatment for ADPKD – a condition that causes cysts to proliferate in the kidneys and often results in end stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation. During this period, the PKD Foundation has worked side-by-side with us as advocates for disease state awareness. In addition, they have been instrumental in recruitment of participants in clinical trials and helping advance the compound through the regulatory process.

“Otsuka's purpose starts with addressing patient problems,” said Dr. Czerwiec. “In the case of ADPKD, we have built upon research initiated by highly motivated researchers inside and outside the company. In this sense, ours is a symbiotic relationship where we each achieve our goal faster through collaborative research.”

Mr. Yamamura and Dr. Czerwiec, on behalf of the company, are humbled to see Otsuka honored at this year’s Gratitude Benefit. “To share in recognition that is given to physicians and patients who fight this disease is a great honor,” Dr. Czerwiec said.

Jul 3, 2017

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On World TB Day, March 24th 2017, Otsuka Pharmaceutical in cooperation with South Africa’s Ministry of Health and a non-governmental organization called Right to Care, officially launched DCAP, a clinical access program for delamanid (DeltybaTM), a medicine developed by Otsuka for the treatment of pulmonary multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

The event, organized by South Africa’s Ministry of Health and the National TB Programme, took place at the Sizwe Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. About 150 government officials, healthcare workers, TB experts, civil society representatives, and other dignitaries gathered to mark this occasion. During the ceremony, the Japanese Ambassador to South Africa, Mr. Shigeyuki Hiroki, emphasized that delamanid is an example of Japanese contributions to strengthening public health in Africa, and presented a box of delamanid to Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, South Africa’s Minister of Health.

Dr. Motsoaledi, a global champion in the fight against TB, delivered the keynote address highlighting that delamanid will be initially made available to children (ages 12-18), HIV co-infected people, and TB patients with diabetes. “We are very happy because these are key populations suffering from TB. We thank Otsuka, as they are providing us this drug, and it will be given to patients in regions with the biggest TB burden in the country”, said Dr. Motsoaledi, adding, “This day marks an important milestone in South Africa’s response to the TB epidemic.”

South Africa has one of the highest burdens of TB and HIV in the world. The two diseases are strongly interlinked, with 35% of deaths from HIV being caused by TB. Unlike HIV, TB is fully curable -- as long as there are effective medicines. However, many South Africans are infected with TB bacteria that are resistant to the first-line anti-TB therapies, which pose a grave public health emergency. In 2015, over 20,000 people were diagnosed with drug-resistant TB. Through this access programme, Otsuka aims to provide an additional treatment option for some of these difficult to treat patients. The experiences from this programme will help provide programmatic evidence on how delamanid can be effectively implemented within South Africa.

Working with committed partners, Otsuka is balancing two priorities: the need for urgent access and for antimicrobial stewardship necessary to prevent the emergence of further drug resistance. In this way, Otsuka is delivering innovative solutions to address unmet medical needs.

Apr 4, 2017

Every year since 2000, Astex employees and their families have taken part in the Light The Night of East Bay event in Walnut Creek in Northern California to raise much needed funds and awareness to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). The LLS, founded in 1949, is the largest voluntary organization in the US dedicated to research, finding cures and ensuring access to treatment for blood cancer patients. In 1964 the survival rate for childhood leukemia was just 3%, now thanks in part to research, funding, and better support for patients from the society the survival rate is 91%. Since its inception, the society has contributed over $1billion towards improving the lives and outcomes for blood cancer patients.

Light The Night draws nearly one million participants over the year to join one of LLS’s 160+ evening events across the US. Participants walk the course holding illuminated lanterns in three colours: white lanterns are carried by patients and survivors; red lanterns by supporters; gold by participants who are walking in memory of a loved one. In speaking about Light The Night, the East Bay Campaign Director for LLS, Andrea Orozco said, “When LLS walks, cancer runs”.

Last year, Astex employees raised $44,393 for LLS through fund raising events and the Astex

corporate match program. 57 employees from Team Astex and their family members joined the event to raise awareness for blood cancers. To date, Astex and its employees have contributed in excess of $465,000 to LLS activities such as Light The Night, Patient Assistance Programs, and educational events and grants. In addition, an Astex employee has served on the local board or was a member of the LLS organizing committee for the past 15 years.

In recognition of their efforts, executives and staff members of Astex received awards from the society, including one for being the top corporate fundraising team and one for the most money raised by an individual. To Astex these activities are more than about raising money for the society, as the President and Chief Medical Officer of Astex, Mohammad Azab explains, “Every employee at Astex is deeply committed to the search for a cure to blood cancers and we are proud to support the mission of the LLS in improving the lives of patients and their families”.

Otsuka affiliate Astex is a leader in innovative drug discovery and development. The company is committed to the fight against cancer as well as disorders of the central nervous system. Find out more about Astex at

Mar 31, 2017

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Otsuka Group member Nutrition & Santé, a leading manufacturer of dietetic products including slimming and sports foods, won the 2017 Inaugural Grand Prix Award from the French National Association of Food Industries (ANIA) and EY *1 at an award ceremony held on January 18th.

The prize rewards French food industry companies for their growth in France or overseas, for job creation, and for their commitment to social responsibility initiatives. Nutrition & Santé was selected from a shortlist of 17 companies by an independent jury.

For almost half a century, Nutrition & Santé has developed, produced and sold healthy and tasty food products to consumers in France and in over 40 countries across the globe. The company maintains around thirty brands in segments such as dietetics *2, organic and alternative foods *3, slimming nutrition *4, and sports nutrition *5.

The award recognizes Nutrition & Santé’s achievements in growth (an increase of 16% from the previous year), in expanding sales overseas, and their commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices such as complying to international standards, procuring raw materials and reducing waste. The award also recognized efforts in innovation, such as meat analogue products that have the same taste, texture, and shape as meat.

Speaking on accepting the award, Nutrition & Santé CEO Didier Suberbielle said, “We are very proud to receive this prize, which rewards the growth made by the company over the past few years, and in particular in 2016 with the acquisition of Bicentury. We regularly hire new employees. Over the last 5 years, our French workforce has grown by 20%, and we now employ more than 1000 people and 1800 worldwide. Since 2010 we officially committed in a CSR policy and consider it to be a strong axis for the future ... be profitable, human and sustainable, that is our company vision.”

For more information on Nutrition & Santé, visit

*1 EY= Ernst & Young Global Limited
*2 Brands Gerblé / Céréal, Allergo, Valpiform
*3 Brands Céréal Bio, Soy, Céréalpes, Natursoy, Plant Steakhouse *4 Brands Gerlinéa, Milical, Modifast, Pesoforma, Bicentury
*5 Brand Isostar


Nov 30, 2016

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In September of 2016, Otsuka Pharmaceutical and RIKEN opened the RIKEN CDB-Otsuka Pharmaceutical Collaboration Center (COCC) inside the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (RIKEN CDB), which is located in the city of Kobe. The COCC will be involved in collaborative developmental biology and regenerative medicine research projects with the goal of investigating disease mechanisms and discovering new

drugs and therapeutic applications. The purpose of the COCC is not only to make new discoveries through such collaborative research projects, but also to train the next generation of scientists by hosting joint seminars and offering opportunities for personnel exchange.

In connection with the opening of the COCC, the first steering committee meeting was held on September 6 at Otsuka in Tokushima to discuss the Center’s plans for collaborative research, information exchange, and personnel exchange. The RIKEN CDB Director, Hiroshi Hamada, M.D., Ph.D., presented a brief

overview of RIKEN and the research in which it has been involved, and the RIKEN CDB Team Leader, Minoru Takasato, Ph.D., gave a presentation on kidney regeneration research using human-derived cells, which led to an animated discussion with Otsuka researchers.

RIKEN CDB is a world-class research institution for basic research in the field of developmental biology and regenerative medicine. RIKEN has recently become known for its participation in the first clinical research in the world on the use of iPS cells in age-related macular degeneration, which has become an increasingly common cause of blindness in recent years.

The COCC will be involved in joint research projects aimed at developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and kidney diseases, which have been important areas of research for Otsuka.

Nov 1, 2016

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Otsuka Pharmaceutical and NEC Corporation have partnered to jointly develop a smart medicine container that will help ensure that patients do not forget to take their daily dose of anti-stroke medication. Otsuka has experience with patients who have suffered one or more strokes through its involvement in the research, development and marketing of blood-thinning drugs, and NEC has many years of experience in miniaturized wearable technologies, sensing technologies, and human-centered design. The combination of two companies’ abilities should therefore make it possible to develop a smart medicine container that will be easy for patients to use.

This container will use a flashing LED light to inform patients that it is time to take their medication. When a patient removes a pill from the container, the time will be recorded in the container’s memory. The container is also equipped with an Internet-of-Things-type function for transmitting

this information to smart phones or tablet devices so that the patient and/or the patient’s family will be able to monitor the patient’s pill ingestion, and also so that pharmacists will be able to use this information when giving the patient instructions on the proper use of the medication.

The daily use of blood-thinning drugs is critical for the prevention of stroke recurrence. However, there have been reports of treatment adherence as low as 50% within half a year of starting treatment because patients forget to take their medication or stop doing so without their physician’s consultation. Antiplatelet treatment maintenance is therefore a significant issue.

Oct 4, 2016

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In support of 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, the official drink POCARI SWEAT was provided to 46 stadiums including Incheon Asiad Main Stadium for players. 15,000 players and staff from 45 Asian countries participated in the competition, and POCARI SWEAT united Asia's diverse cultures into one.

To support this event, Dong-A Otsuka mobilized nearly all its staff to support athletes’ rehydration by providing POCARI SWEAT on site. They also managed various fun filled POCARI SWEAT activity booths across the venues, such as history zone, sampling zone and sports experience zone.

POCARI SWEAT also became the official drink for Indonesian athletes this year.

POCARI SWEAT provided Indonesian athletes with development funds, uniforms for the Indonesian contingent for Asian Games 2014 and SEA Games 2015 and invited sport science experts to educate the coaches of Indonesian Athletes.

This partnership between National Sports Committee of Indonesia (known as KONI) and PT. Amerta Indah Otsuka will run for five years. “We will be consistent in doing these activities as an effort to support the Indonesian sports achievements” said Mr. Yoshihiro Bando, President Director of PT. Amerta Indah Otsuka.

In addition to providing support for top athletes, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals was also involved in activities to nurture the next generation of athletes and promote the culture of sports.

Children from Japan and South Korea participated in this program in which 11 elementary school athletes from Iwate Prefecture in Japan’s Tohoku region was chosen to experience the world-class atmosphere of Asia’s largest sports event.

Sep 15, 2016

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Otsuka Sims (Guangdong) Beverage Co., Ltd. has been sponsoring the annual POCARI SWEAT 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament since 2006. The aim of the tournament, in which teams of 3 compete, is to encourage consumers to develop and maintain healthier bodies through exercise and good hydration habits. 

At the start of each summer's team recruitment drive, basketball fans from many regions of China, including Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, have come to Foshan to participate in the POCARI SWEAT Battle of the City Heroes. The POCARI SWEAT 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament has developed a strong reputation and become recognized and respected among the sporting community.

Compared to last year, this year's tournament added 2 more divisions totaling 8: Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Jiangmen, Foshan and Huizhou. Also this year, the number of cities holding competitions increased to 8, the number of teams increased from 600 to 912, nearly one thousand athletes increased adding up to 3,648, and the number of spectators increased from 7,000 to about 9,000.

Each year, the previous year’s champion team is invited to appear in the tournament poster.

This year’s media coverage has included the Shenzhen Entertainment channel, Jiangmen Xinhui channel, Huizhou news channel, Guangzhou TV news channel, which will report on and broadcast the competitions in their respective cities.

The company has been hosting this tournament for 11 years. During this period, it has broadened publicity for POCARI SWEAT and heightened consumers’ interest and understanding of the product. The tournament has increased the public's faith in and goodwill toward Otsuka and established in the minds of consumers a brand image for POCARI SWEAT as a new awareness of ion supply drink.

Aug 24, 2016

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A portion of our activities dedicated to reducing bias among the general public about nerve and mental diseases has won the Bronze for the Pharma category of Lions Health at the 63rd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the most prestigious international award for creativity.

The activity which was awarded the Bronze uses the booklet “Connect Pen & Notebook” as a way to raise awareness of diseases. The product was designed and produced by TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD.

The booklet conveys that nerve and mental diseases, similar to some other diseases, are organ diseases affecting the brain and are caused by malfunctions in the interconnections in the brain.

The pen captures the general public’s interest and encourages them to read the booklet contents. It does this by connecting electric circuits in the booklet to mimic the connections in the brain. LED lights are thereby lit by drawing with the pen, which uses ink that conducts electricity.

Part of the circuits were hand-made by patients who aspire to be employed. This tool is used in university courses related to healthcare and has resulted in students having improved understanding about, and impressions toward, these diseases.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical will continue to carry out activities to dispel negative images of diseases by deepening awareness of them.


Jun 7, 2016

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Otsuka Pharmaceutical participated in the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund as an associate partner on June 7th, 2016. GHIT Fund was established in April 2013 as the world’s first product development fund specialized in Global Health through partnerships with the public (i.e. Japanese government), private, and civil sectors (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc.).

GHIT Fund contributes funds to research and development of pharmaceuticals or diagnostic products, etc. targeting the three major infectious diseases, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria; and neglected tropical diseases mainly prevalent in developing nations through utilization of the high standard technologies and innovations created in Japan.

In 3 years, over 60 projects were approved and over US$60 million has been invested. Of these projects, 7 have proceeded into the clinical development stages. It was announced during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit that an additional 130 million dollars would be invested to this foundation as a commitment of the Japanese government to global health.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical has challenged to overcome difficult global health problems and have been devoted to developing original, innovative products aimed at solving unmet medical needs. Given its long-term commitment, R&D investment, of over 30 years in the field of tuberculosis, it has successfully created a new anti-tuberculosis agent, delamanid, for the first time in approximately half a century. Our participation in GHIT Fund is anticipated to be highly valued as a further effort for our company in global health.


Earlier this year, Otsuka Pharmaceutical co-sponsored the 3rd Nikkei Asian Conference on Communicable Disease held in Tokyo.

A discussion on the theme “Japanese initiatives through new public and private cooperation” was held on cooperation between government and private sectors in regards to global expansion especially in Asia of Japanese technology conducive to managing infectious diseases.

Masuhiro Yoshitake, the Global Project Leader of TB Projects from Otsuka Pharmaceutical, presented the approval application status of delamanid, in each country and reported that cooperation between government and private sectors are essential within the international framework for global expansion of delamanid.

At the end of the conference, Dr. Shigeru Omi, Regional Director Emeritus for the World Health Organization Western Pacific Region, gave a summary “Tokyo Infectious Disease Statement 2016” in regards to recommendations based on this conference and challenges for the next year. He agreed that this will lead to future activities in both Japan and overseas.

Through participation in this conference, our company has been made aware of greater need for cooperation between government and private sectors in order to deliver our company’s creation, delamanid, to patients.

Originally published at:

May 16, 2016

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Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. hosted a special screening of the first-ever documentary film on living with PseudoBulbar affect (PBA), “Beyond Laughter and Tears, A Journey of Hope”, during the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting in Atlanta on May 16, 2016.

The documentary was created by Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an Otsuka subsidiary, in order to “shine a spotlight on PBA and the vast community it impacts, hopefully creating a greater awareness of PBA that may inspire people who suffer from this condition or their loved ones to seek help,” according to the website devoted to the film,

PBA is a neurologic condition characterized by uncontrollable, sudden outbursts of crying and/or laughing that don’t match what a person is feeling on the inside. Approximately 2 million Americans may suffer from PBA.

PBA occurs when certain neurologic conditions or brain injuries damage areas of the brain involved in crying and/or laughing. Because PBA is a prevalent, yet under-recognized and undertreated condition, Avanir is bringing together the mental health community to raise awareness of PBA and how it affects patients’ lives.

Beyond Laughter and Tears is the first documentary film to examine the daily struggle of Americans who live with PBA. It chronicles the lives of six people dealing with PBA, a secondary condition prevalent among people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury, stroke or certain other diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. To the six cast members, finally getting a diagnosis meant so much to them. Each of them talked about wanting to help others with PBA because they had so much trouble getting a diagnosis themselves.

Apr 21, 2016

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Mr. Bob Oliver, president & CEO of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., (OAPI), served as the keynote speaker and honoree at the 3rd Annual Top Blacks in Healthcare Awards Gala held in spring this year in Baltimore.

The Gala, hosted by, a leading online health destination for African Americans, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions, is held each year to honor and recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to health and medicine.

"'s Top Blacks in Healthcare is a very important event in the Black community because it gives us a chance to recognize African-Americans who have achieved a high level of success and understand the importance of reaching back to serve as positive role models for others,” said Mr. Reggie Ware, CEO,

One person who couldn’t agree more was Mr. Oliver’s son, who greeted his father with a hug as he left the stage and whispered, “Dad, you did awesome!” And the audience agreed.

Mr. Oliver, who has worked at OAPI since 2010 said, “I am honored to be a part of such an esteemed group working collectively to address healthcare disparity in America - a growing and costly problem that has surpassed US $30 billion in preventable cost per year. We must solve together. I am equally proud of Otsuka - people who embrace diversity, hire and develop talent, and strive earnestly every day to create healthier communities around the world.”

During his tenure at OAPI, Mr. Oliver and his teams have been instrumental in introducing a diverse portfolio of marketed products, and helping to guide the development of pipeline products, across the neuroscience, oncology, and medical device markets. Mr. Oliver is also passionate about education, and served as chairman of the board for Eastern University Charter Academy School in the state of Pennsylvania, ensuring educational opportunities are provided to at-risk children.

Apr 20, 2016

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The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology awarded Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. two commendations for Science and Technology in Tokyo, Japan.

One of the prizes for Science and Technology, in the Development Category, was for the research and development of delamanid. It is an effective treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. The other prize was for the development of tolvaptan, an antagonist of the vasopressin V2 receptor.

The commendations were presented in late spring in a ceremony held in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.

Each year, 9.6 million people are newly infected by tuberculosis (TB). Of these cases, 480,000 patients develop multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). And in that group, 22% develop extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB). There have been no new anti-TB drugs developed since the introduction of rifampicin over forty years ago.

Senior director of the Pharmaceutical Business Division, Mr. Makoto Matsumoto, Ph.D., said, “Delamanid was approved as a new drug for the first time in approximately 40 years. However, many besides those being awarded this time contributed their efforts and cooperation during the approval process, which took over 20 years.”

He continued to thank, “all those who were involved from the discovery and development of delamanid to the approval of the drug. Otsuka will continue its efforts to increase the number of patients using the drug, and will continue contributing to tuberculosis treatment worldwide.”

Delamanid was approved in Japan, Europe, and Korea in 2014. The commendation was awarded to delamanid for its contribution to the medical care of TB, by addressing the pressing need for new effective treatments to the increasing occurrence of MDR-TB.

A doctor looking for a drug that helped his patients excrete only water unlike other diuretics inspired Otsuka Pharmaceutical to start researching for an agent to do just that.

It was discovered that this vasopressin V2 receptor antagonist may hinder the proliferation and enlargement of the cysts in the hereditary disease Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD).

Otsuka subsequently played a pivotal role in the clinical development of tolvaptan for ADPKD, and it is presently the only treatment option known to delay the long-term progression of ADPKD.

“I heard that this award commemorates ‘people’ who make achievements, and I am deeply moved by the fact that my life’s work involving the discovery and development of tolvaptan, which I spent 30 years on, has been recognized,” said Mr. Yoshitaka Yamamura, senior director of the Pharmaceutical Business Division.

“The ‘rugged’ drug discovery we started from scratch is now contributing to patients daily, and I am sincerely proud of that fact. I hope that new drug discoveries will be made for drugs that ‘originate in Tokushima and are the world’s first’.”

The commendation was awarded to tolvaptan for its contribution to the medical fields of heart failure and liver cirrhosis, as an agent with a new mode of action of water diuresis, as well as the only treatment option known to delay the long-term progression of ADPKD.

Apr 19, 2016

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Otsuka and the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility (GDF) announced a worldwide access plan for delamanid, one of only two medications approved to treat multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the last 40 years.

The GDF is the largest supplier of quality assured TB treatments in the public sector, which gives it a unique position to catalyse uptake and expedite access to patients living in countries where TB medications are urgently needed. Launched in 2001 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the GDF was created out of a need to build an efficient system of procurement and distribution of high-quality TB drugs. Apart from procurement, the GDF provides a unique package of services, including technical assistance in TB treatment management and monitoring of TB drug use.

This innovative partnership with Otsuka opens access to over 100 low- and middle-income countries that are eligible for financing through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and that follow WHO guidelines for the proper management of MDR-TB. As part of this partnership, GDF will also include delamanid in their Strategic Rotating Stockpile to ensure treatments get to people in need as quickly as possible. Apart from establishing a formalized partnership that ensures the supply of delamanid, Otsuka and GDF will work together to support communities with education, training, technical assistance, and TB advocacy activities.

Access to a reliable supply of high quality drugs is of great importance, as patients can develop TB drug resistance as a result of poor quality drugs and unreliable supply channels. Widespread drug resistance complicates and lengthens treatment, and as the disease is airborne just like other types of TB, it poses a major public health risk. Nearly half a million people each year develop MDR-TB and of those diagnosed and enrolled in treatment, only 50% are successfully treated.

This partnership is a key component of Otsuka’s wider strategy called the “FightTBack” initiative to scale up programmatic use of delamanid and fight TB through innovative R&D, ensuring responsible access to patients, optimizing patient management, and collaborative capacity building.

In line with its philosophy of addressing unmet medical needs, Otsuka is currently testing the first-ever pediatric MDR-TB formulation. Otsuka is continuing its research into innovative ways to fight TB, including development of mobile health technology for patients to receive treatment reminders on their smart phones and involvement in multiple research partnerships looking at shorter, more efficient and more patient-friendly ways to fight MDR-TB.

Feb 20, 2016

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The Otsuka Museum of Art hosted the sixth Sistine Kabuki production – Yuriwaka Daijin: Ulysses – for 3 days, beginning on February 20, with two performances each day. As has been the case in past years, tickets sold out almost as soon as they went on sale. The performances were attended by 2800 persons from across Japan.

Incorporating Technology in Kabuki
The stage for this year's production was set up in the style of an arena, with elevated walkways leading off in all four directions. The stage was lit in various colors using blue light LED technology, made famous recently as the invention that received the Nobel Prize in physics last year. This year's performance was notable for the singing and dancing elements, which are not usually seen in kabuki, and for the use of slang words in the spoken dialogue, which drew cheers from the audience.

"Sistine Kabuki" productions are based on the themes of Japanese-Western collaboration and the creation of innovative kabuki theater. The current production – Yuriwaka Daijin: Ulysses – is a completely new work, a fusion of Greek mythology and traditional kabuki theater based on the tale of Yuriwaka Daijin, which is considered an ancient Japanese retelling of the Odyssey, the epic poem attributed to Homer.

Kazuo Mizuguchi returned as producer and director, and Kanjuuro Fujima returned as choreographer, and they collaborated with the Chinese opera performer Zhang Chunxiang to create a kabuki performance with musical accompaniment that incorporated both kabuki movements and Chinese opera-style percussion instruments. The presence of Yuuga Yamato, a former star of the Takarazuka Review theater troupe in Japan, playing two roles, one Eastern and one Western, was also a topic of great interest.

The protagonist, Yuriwaka Daijin, was played by Ainosuke Kataoka, making his fourth appearance in a row in Sistine Kabuki performances, and the roles of Princess Tachibana and the goddess Calypso were both played by Yuuga Yamato, making her first appearance. The roles of Takahime (the Spirit of the Hawk) and Hidetora's older sister Matsugae were both played by Kichiya Kamimura, who has appeared in Sistine Kabuki performances since their inception, and the role of Hidetora Ichiro was played by Tanenosuke Nakamura.

After the first performance, Ainosuke Kataoka said "I have sung in Sistine Kabuki productions before, but this year I was nervous singing because of Ms. Yamato's presence," and Yuuga Yamato said that "I had thought that only men appeared in kabuki, and I had played male roles before when I was with Takarazuka, but I was really grateful for the opportunity to appear in a kabuki production."


Dec 21, 2015

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Dr. Gregory Fox from Sydney, Australia was presented the Young Innovator in Tuberculosis Research Award sponsored by Otsuka during the 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Cape Town, South Africa in December 2015.

Dr. Fox is an Australian respiratory physician and recipient of the CJ Martin Fellowship from the Australian Government. His research focuses on TB case-finding and multidrug-resistant TB in high-burden settings. Dr. Fox was the foundation country director of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Vietnam from 2009 to 2013. During that period, in partnership with the Vietnam National TB Program, he implemented a randomized controlled trial (the ACT2 study), screening over 25,000 people for TB.

The project was innovative in its use of randomized controlled trial methodology and electronic tools that were developed especially for the trial and are scalable. Additionally, the project demonstrated the feasibility of centrally coordinated tracing of everyone who has come in contact with a person diagnosed with TB. Currently, Dr. Fox is an investigator on several ongoing public health and clinical studies of TB screening and prevention in Vietnam. He also works as a respiratory physician at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

The Young Innovator in TB Research Award was established through a global partnership between Otsuka Pharmaceutical and The Union. The award is administered by The Union with a grant provided by Otsuka. Award recipients are selected by a panel of experts organised independently by The Union.

The purpose of the award is to stimulate the advancement of innovative approaches in TB control and patient care. The award is open to young clinicians who have documented achievements in the formulation and implementation of clinical and operational research in the field of TB or multidrug-resistant TB.

Aug 30, 2015

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On the final day of the 15th IAAF World Championships held in Beijing, Mai Ito from the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Track & Field Team ran for Japan in the Women’s Marathon. Although the final day was cloudy compared to the blazing weather throughout the games, Ms. Ito ran confidently in hot conditions and finished first among all Japanese runners, earning her the right to run in the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ms. Ito focused on training and overcame harsh conditions in preparation for her second time competing in the World Championships. For this marathon, she concentrated on strengthening her muscles, with particular focus on training her lower body by performing squats with weights – a workout that she endured even after suffering a stress fracture in her foot.

Paying close attention to everyday diet and hydration prior to the competition was another factor contributing to her strong performance. She consumed more protein and carbohydrates, chose jellied food if she felt that this was a better choice for her digestion, and took amino acid supplements in addition to her meals to counter fatigue.

Careful hydration before and during running is just as important as daily diet. Ms. Ito chose ion supply drinks with optimum amounts of sugars to prevent dehydration throughout and to support her spurt in the latter part of her run.She was careful about hydration during training and at competitions, and the results of her daily adjustments were obvious from her performance at the marathon beyond the 30 kilometers point. While many runners down-paced by trying to catch up with the fastest spurting group, Ms. Ito’s determined run earned her a ticket to the upcoming Olympics after she finished 7th, the highest among Japanese runners.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Track & Field Team’s athletes receive physical training and instructions on diet & hydration from instructors, coaches and a dietitian, all with a scientific approach tailored to each athlete’s physical features and conditions.

“It is crucial that each of our athletes recognize the science behind the various support they receive during their training and apply it towards international competitions,” commented Mr. Tadasu Kawano, Team Coach. “Ms. Ito is an ideal role model for other team members. She understands the data very well. Her physical abilities may be compared unfavorably with Western and African competitors, but her perseverance will surely lead her through the competition for medals.”

Ms. Ito joined Otsuka’s Track & Field Team, envisioning becoming a world-class athlete after she started running during her high school years. During the daytime away from track & field, Ms. Ito plays an important role in quality assurance at Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory, Inc., and she finds pleasure in contributing to the wellbeing of people and patients around the world. “You can find many world-class athletes on the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Track & Field Team. We have an environment here that supports international competition,” says Ms. Ito. “I anticipated the Beijing World Championships race would be held in hot and harsh conditions, so I concentrated on not dragging fatigue after my rehearsals. I communicated actively with the staff members supporting me, to make sure my condition was monitored from all angles. What I have experienced during training for this marathon is an asset, and it will most certainly help me in conditioning towards the Rio de Janeiro Olympics to bring out the best performance of my career and to run in the top tier.”

On August 30, the same day that Mai Ito confirmed her place at the Olympics, a younger athlete from Otsuka’s team made a bright debut in Japan. Yui Okada, who joined Otsuka 4 years ago, championed in her very first full marathon in Hokkaido.

This was her second victory following a winning run in a half marathon, also her first time competing at that distance. “If there is anything I am uncertain of, I ask. I ask my teammates and dietitian what I should be doing to take care of myself. At Otsuka, I get the support I need to improve myself,” says the young debutante.

Otsuka’s younger generation athletes are striving for world-class results, and Otsuka Track & Field Team is proud of supporting promising young athletes through its vast knowledge and experience of wellbeing.


May 21, 2015

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In ‘the city of sizzling woks’ with over 12,000 restaurants to dine at, you cannot avoid the scrumptious cooking aromas at any street corner. Hong Kong is a world-renowned gourmet paradise for its creative East-meets-West culinary delicacies, and for the accessibility there to imported foods from around the world. Some of the culinary pleasures of being in Hong Kong are exemplified by being able to relish a Cantonese breakfast and Mediterranean lunch, indulge in a treat with British-style afternoon tea, feast on French full course dinner followed by a midnight snack with Japanese munchies, all in one day.

Worrying about sugar and fat intake is the last thing you would want to do while enjoying your epicurean adventure in Hong Kong, which is why Otsuka’s first overseas launch of Kenja-no-shokutaku (The Wise Man’s Dining) Double Support in Hong Kong offers health-conscious gourmets a new option to curb absorption of sugar and lipids from deluxe diet, and thereby reducing the rise in blood glucose levels and triglycerides after meals. It comes in flavorless, odorless powder form which can be dissolved in any mealtime beverages or soup without affecting their flavor.(More product details in Chinese can be read here at a local website:
Today, as more than a third of Hong Kong’s residents are classified overweight or obese, consumers are seeking out healthier foods and beverages to use on a daily basis, which accounts for the rapid expansion of the city’s diet-oriented foods market. Higher health awareness also influence people to choose functional products, such as sports and energy drinks, to promote a more active lifestyle as a way to avoid weight gain.
In the spring of 2015, Otsuka launched two more nutraceutical products in Hong Kong, which were presented at a media event held in late May, featuring actress Ms. Myolie Wu, and an internationally active dietitian, Ms. Mylene Khoo, both whom are well known icons of well-being.

RONAMIN C drink is one of the three items launched and it marks its 50th year anniversary back in Japan where it originates. At the event, Ms. Myolie Wu expressed how happy she was to be able to enjoy the made-in-Japan ORONAMIN C again in her homeland, which she was fond of during her residence in Japan. The 120ml flavorful carbonated drink fortified with the vitamin C equivalent of 11 lemons, vitamin B-complex and other nutritional elements, has been refreshing and energizing people of all ages for half a century. (Energizing tips of ORONAMIN C in Chinese can be read here at a local website:

A perennial taste combo favorite, ‘Almond & Chocolate’ flavor, joined the SOYJOY line-up in Hong Kong. Chewy baked bar SOYJOY is made from 100% soybean flour and contains no wheat. The passionate team from Otsuka Pharmaceutical in Hong Kong will continue awareness building campaigns of the benefits of including low glycemic index foods in healthy diets, through the marketing of SOYJOY in various fruit and nut. (For more information on Low Glycemic Index, a numerical indication of how much your blood glucose level rises after a meal, visit our English webpage “Everything You Need to Know about GI”. Local SOYJOY product information in Chinese can be read here:

The recent splashy debuts of Otsuka’s nutraceutical products demonstrate how the company’s belief in innovating nutritional products with scientific backing is taking root in Hong Kong. With almost two decades of experience in the city with pharmaceutical business too and therefore a strong presence in the local medical industry, Otsuka is hoping to touch the heartstrings of many more health conscious people in Hong Kong.


Apr 5, 2015

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Otsuka is proud to be the lead supporter of the National Conference of State Societies’ (NCSS) 67th Cherry Blossom Festival events, including their flagship Cherry Blossom Princess Program. Otsuka has pledged its recurring support to the NCSS Cherry Blossom Events for three consecutive years, to demonstrate the company’s commitment to empowering young women to aspire to accomplish their goals and become the leaders of the next generation.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is held in Washington, DC each spring, commemorating the gift of the cherry blossom trees, which symbolizes the friendship between the peoples of the United States and Japan. The cherry trees were first gifted to Washington, DC in 1912 from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo. 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ reciprocal gift of flowering dogwood trees to the people of Japan. For Otsuka, as a Japanese company with operations in the United States, supporting an event that commemorates this enduring friendship is especially appropriate. William M. Christian, the President of NCSS complimented Otsuka, noting, “NCSS is proud to have continuously administered the Cherry Blossom Princess program, including the US Cherry Blossom Queen, since 1948. We are particularly grateful for the support of our chief sponsor, Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals, Inc. With our shared ties to the Japanese culture, Otsuka is a natural partner for the NCSS, and this collaboration portends the continued success of our iconic program of empowering young women and promoting cultural exchange."

The Cherry Blossom Princess Program has been held annually since 1948, with the mission of “Aspiring Leadership and Empowering Young Women.” The program offers young women from across the US and around the world the opportunity to participate in community outreach, personal development, educational, leadership, cultural and networking activities. Otsuka’s support to the NCSS’ Cherry Blossom Festival events inspires the many activities for the Princesses, which promote personal growth and foster leadership. Former Cherry Blossom Princesses include US Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, US Senator Shelley Moore Caputo of West Virginia, and Lynda Johnson Robb, the former First Lady of Virginia and daughter of former US President Lyndon B. Johnson. These accomplished women are a testament to the program’s success in encouraging young women to achieve the highest caliber of success.




Apr 1, 2015

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Ms. Mai Ito, a member of the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Track & Field Team, has been selected to represent Japan in the women’s marathon event at the 15th IAAF World Championships in Athletics to be held in Beijing.
The marathon will be on August 30, 2015. This will be her second time to compete in the World Championships in Athletics, after participating in the 2011 competition.

Top 2 in Nagoya Women’s Marathon paved the way

At the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, a qualifying event for Japan’s national team going to the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Ms. Ito finished with a personal best time of 2 hours, 24 minutes, 42 seconds.

Despite this excellent result Ms. Ito said, “Not achieving my goal of placing first among the Japanese runners was frustrating.” At the World Championships in Athletics, she is aiming to be the best runner from Japan, and after that, to make a mark on the world stage.

“To accomplish that, I want to properly build on my training starting now, so I can give it my all at the World Championships,” she said, expressing her aspirations going forward.

Mai Ito’s journey to being selected for the World Championships

Being highly ambitious and training for competitions based on a scientific approach is a key feature of the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Track & Field Team. Upon hearing that Ms. Mai Ito would compete in the World Championships in Athletics as she had hoped, team coach Mr. Tadasu Kawano commended her: “She is an athlete who always aspires to go higher, and is keenly aware of what it takes to compete—that attitude is her strength.”

Ms. Ito ordinarily works at the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory, where she is involved in quality control procedures. Her main duties include handling documents and inspecting product appearance. As an employee of a pharmaceutical company, Ms. Ito has an important role in ensuring that high-quality products are provided to patients and consumers who care about maintaining good health.

Regarding the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Track & Field Team she said, “I can train for competitions with a lot of motivation because the team provides me with an environment that helps me become stronger.” The team helps Ms. Ito perform at her best by managing her physical condition based on various kinds of data and by making use of scientifically-based products.

25 Years of Track & Field Team History

The Otsuka Pharmaceutical Track & Field Team was founded in 1990. As a basic principle, it strives to develop athletes so they can succeed not only in Japan but also internationally. As of April 2015, it consists of a men’s team of 17 athletes (including the team coach, who is also a member), a women’s team of 10 members, and a staff of eight. It is based in Naruto City, Tokushima Prefecture, which is the birthplace of the Otsuka Group.

In the past, the team’s members have competed in international tournaments, including some of the world’s most competitive marathons. In Japan, the members of the men’s team regularly participate in the country’s premiere running events, such as the New Year Ekiden, while members of the women’s team compete in long-distance events like relays and race walking.

Apr 1, 2015

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Otsuka Australia Pharmaceutical (OAP) opened its first Australian office in Sydney in April, 2015.

Kangaroos & koalas, the Great Barrier Reef and shiraz wine are some of the more familiar images of Australia to people elsewhere in the world, but there is much more in this continental country of more than 23 million people. Australia is home to world class science, and a collaborative research environment that has made life sciences one of the biggest and most rapidly evolving industry. Like other developed countries, Australia’s population is gradually aging and experiencing a rise in chronic illnesses, including mental disorders. These were some of the factors that led Otsuka to put down stakes in Australia for the long term. Otsuka is seeking to apply constructive approaches to these challenges, to meet the unsatisfied health needs in Australia and neighboring countries.

How Otsuka’s direct presence in Australia will make a difference

Rather than being bound by industry customs and trying to compete head-to-head with everyone else, Otsuka has consistently drawn on original thinking.

OAP has started its operation with a focus on central nervous system disorders – an area which includes conditions such as schizophrenia, where patients in Australia await better treatments. Nick Malik, Sales and Marketing Manager, CNS portfolio noted, “Schizophrenia and other mental illnesses continue to be a burden on too many Australian families. Otsuka is a leading firm in the challenging area of mental health, and our experienced and dedicated team at OAP, together with our alliance partner Lundbeck, are eager to help improve the lives of people with mental illness in Australia.”

The head office is in Chatswood, an area in proximity to the beautiful beaches of Sydney’s north coast, and the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. In keeping with Otsuka's heritage, employees have been learning Japanese and embracing the subtle cultural and business differences. It goes without saying the team enjoys Japanese cuisine at every opportunity.

“We are proud to become part of the healthcare community here in Australia and beyond in Oceania.” says Masamitsu Kitada, Managing Director of OAP. “Otsuka’s presence aligns the company’s extensive global experiences with the rich and diverse local cultures and customs in Australia. With dream and passion, our mission is to deliver better treatments and outcomes to patients in the region through Otsuka’s original and innovative products.”
Mar 24, 2015

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Otsuka working Towards Overcoming Tuberculosis

On March 24th – World TB Day – we are reminded of the 9 million people who become infected with tuberculosis (TB) every year, their challenges and their hope for cure. We at Otsuka remember this every day.

It is the driving force behind our commitment to discovering new tools to eliminate TB in our lifetime. As the world’s leading private investor in TB research and development, it has been our goal for the past 40 years to find new, effective solutions to eliminating this disease that claims 1.5 million lives a year.

We know that TB can affect anyone, anywhere in the world. That is why this year, we focus on those who are truly on the front lines of this disease – the healthcare workers, the patients, and their families. Each day this week we will profile stories of those who are making a difference in this fight and the inspiration they provide to others here.

People such as Dasha and Grisha Lavrushiny, a young married couple from Russia, who have both struggled with TB, including the extensively-drug resistant form of it, but in the end have won the battle. Today, they are helping others receive correct diagnosis and treatment.

Li Lulu, a young mother from China, developed TB meningitis, a particularly dangerous type of TB, right after giving birth. The encouragement and support of her family had given her the strength needed to complete treatment and today she is cured.

The support of loved ones and the dedication of healthcare workers on the frontlines of the battle, such as Stuart Pancho, a registered nurse from the Philippines who leads trainings for other healthcare workers. The personal bonds they have established with their patients have proven essential to their treatment success.

Though treatment for TB may be complicated and lengthy, it is a curable disease. Yet an estimated 3 million people a year go undiagnosed or untreated. Much progress remains to be done until every person is correctly diagnosed, treated and cured. We at Otsuka are committed to continuing our efforts so that, ultimately, we can live in a world free from TB.

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