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The Forum is a newly formed group of physicians and advocates in Europe dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of people with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The formation of the European ADPKD Forum (abbreviated as EAF) coincided with the 51st European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplant Association Congress that was held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Forum is supported by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd.
The original seeds of Otsuka’s engagement on ADPKD can be traced back to research done at Otsuka labs in Tokushima, Japan in the late 1980s on vasopressin, a hormone that increases water reabsorption in the kidneys. Otsuka shared the findings with university-based researchers around the world, and subsequent R&D has created significant scientific insights into ADPKD.
The EAF initiative is co-chaired by Tess Harris, President of PKD International, and Dr. Richard Sanford, Consultant Clinical Geneticist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK.
Tess Harris (left), EAF co-chair and ADPKD patient commented: “ADPKD places a great emotional and physical strain on people with the condition and their families. ADPKD patients experience a diminished and sometimes impoverished quality of life and are at risk of dying prematurely. Healthcare professionals and the wider public simply aren’t as aware of ADPKD as they should be and this must be urgently addressed. The EAF initiative will do this by identifying areas for improvement in care inequalities and by establishing a framework in which expertise and learnings can be shared to tackle the ongoing concerns faced by the ADPKD patient and care-giving community throughout Europe.”
The EAF is currently developing an expert report that will feature new evidence from the largest-ever survey of ADPKD patients. The report will draw attention to the emotional and physical burdens of living with the disease, as well as explore the potential barriers to the development of innovative treatments for ADPKD.
“This EAF report will provide the most robust overview yet of the wide-ranging impact of ADPKD, how health services are currently set up to meet this challenge, and what changes are needed to improve care development and delivery,” says Dr Richard Sandford. The EAF report will be published in late 2014.
The co-chairs and faculty of the EAF do not receive fees for their roles in the initiative and the opinions expressed in EAF publications are solely their own and are not necessarily shared by Otsuka.
The EAF initiative aims to:
ADPKD is a disease arising from one of two possible genetic mutations in which innumerable cysts (sacs in which fluid accumulates) form in the kidney, leading to gradual diminution of renal function. In most cases symptoms begin to show up in the third or fourth decade of life in the form of complaints such as blood in the urine, abdominal or low back pain, and abdominal distention. Also, hypertension may occur before the damage done to the kidneys by ADPKD becomes apparent.
Approximately. 50% of ADPKD patients experience end-stage renal disease by age 59 and 75% reach ESRD by age 70. The disease occurs relatively frequently among genetic disorders and approximately 200,000 people have been diagnosed with ADPKD in Europe, 120,000 in the U.S. and 30,000 in Japan.
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For the fifth straight year Otsuka Pharmaceutical has supported TEDxTokyo, an event held at Hikarie Square in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
TED, an acronym for “Technology,” “Entertainment,” and “Design,” provides a forum for individuals at the forefront of these three fields to come together to share innovative and creative ideas ~ “ideas worth spreading”.
TED started in the United States in 1984, and has spread to more than 140 countries around the world. The presentations given at the TED gatherings have been recorded and made available free of charge at the TED web site, and these “TED Talks” have been watched more than one billion times worldwide. In Japan, NHK has shown TED talks on a program called “Super Presentation,” which has drawn considerable interest.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical, which places a premium on creativity, and on the development and promotion of original products, immediately identified with the TED concept.
This year, in collaboration with TEDxTokyo members, Otsuka created an animated short based on the theme of “globalization” that gave a brief overview of the company.
At Otsuka’s booth on the day of TEDxTokyo, Otsuka showed the animation on monitors and displayed the illustrations that were used to produce it. A select few Otsuka products, such as SOYJOY and POCARI SWEAT ION WATER, were passed out in order to introduce attendees to Otsuka’s philosophy and international scope.
The animated short told the story of Otsuka’s ongoing efforts to develop and promote innovative products, based on Otsuka’s corporate philosophy, “Otsuka – people creating new products for better health worldwide,” reflecting the company’s belief that health is borderless.
From 1973, the year of the founding of Otsuka Thailand, Otsuka Pharmaceutical has been expanding internationally. In the 1980s, Otsuka Pharmaceutical was the first Japanese pharmaceutical company to establish research and development bases in America. This marked the true beginning of our globalization.
Employees based outside Japan now account for 70% of Otsuka’s workforce, and Otsuka markets products in more than 80 countries around the world. Otsuka’s animated short, which is less than four minutes long, tells the story of Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s journey to the present, and of the various milestones that were passed along the way.
At this year’s TEDxTokyo, more than 25 presenters spoke or gave performances focusing on this year’s theme, “Connecting the Unconnected.”
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China Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (COP) was established as the first foreign pharmaceutical joint venture after China’s reform and opening-up policies were implemented in 1978. The aim was to contribute to the development of localized medical services, which upheld Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Chairman Akihiko Otsuka’s philosophy of contributing to medical fields at a local level.
At the celebration in Tianjin, China, on May 16th 2014, Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. Vice President Ichiro Otsuka’s speech was especially encouraging.
“To be honest, I feel the relationship between China and Japan is not so good. However, I think we should focus on the patients with the same mindset that we use to contribute to the advancement of medical care in China. Hopefully, the company could become one of the bridges to improve Japan-China relations in the future. Recently, when I think about how things will be in the 22nd century, people may ask ‘which healthcare maker most contributed to the 21th century?’ I hope to hear the answer, ‘Isn’t it the Otsuka group?’ I hope for the same in China, I hope China Otsuka Pharmaceutical will be the company with the most contributions to the clinical nutrition of China. I heard that you will challenge various fields, not limited to only I.V., so I hope that in every challenge, you contribute with a focus on patients.”
COP president Mr. Haichun Gao gave a presentation to guests showing the development of the company over the last 30 years, describing the four aspects of company history, social values, social responsibility, and his future vision. Whether it is production quality, technology, or marketing strategy, when it comes to the idea of safe I.V. products, COP has led profound changes in China’s I.V. industry. President Gao expressed thanks for the effort and support from the government, shareholders, the Otsuka group, and all employees.
COP chairman Mr. Zhixin Li issued the “Award of Founding Fathers” to Mr. Akihiko Otsuka which was accepted by his son, Mr. Ichiro Otsuka on his behalf.
Understanding the present by reviewing the past (温故知新) in an age of complex Japan-China relations, we need to review the message from Mr. Akihiko Otsuka in 1986: “Without lasting peace, there can be no future. All citizens must consider this issue together. Every citizen should do their best to develop a deep, mutual understanding with the people of other countries. We should help the Chinese understand the Japanese through China Otsuka’s business. The success of China Otsuka will encourage more Japanese companies to invest in China, and then we will have more chances for mutual understanding to contribute to lasting peace.”
Nearly 300 people attended the celebration in Tianjin, China, including board members and Old Boys who witnessed the development of the company, as well as the presidents of Otsuka affiliates in China. The list of guests included Mr. Ichiro Otsuka; Mr. Meguru Kajiwara, executive managing director of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Factory; Mr. Takaharu Imai, senior managing director of Otsuka International Asia & Arab; Mr. Dae-sik Eom, senior managing director of Otsuka International Asia & Arab.
The ceremony was held in the lecture hall of the multifunction building and led by Mr. Zhixin Li. The Vice President of Sinopharm (a major stakeholder) Mr. Zenghe Dong said in his speech to the audience, “China Otsuka Pharmaceutical contributed to medical service in China over the years to have enhanced overall levels of China I.V. by its high quality products.” Chairman of Tianjin Pharmaceutical (another major stakeholder) Mr. Jianjin Zhang also affirmed a strong sense of social values and the good momentum of corporate development.
Reports of intravenous fluid supplies breaking in their glass bottles on the way to aid those affected by the Tangshan Earthquake of 1976 moved Mr. Akihiko Otsuka deeply, which led him to respond the Tianjin government’s approach which was seeking an overseas partner for the manufacture of I.V. fluids at the time. After several visits and discussions, Otsuka Pharmaceutical and China Pharmaceutical Industry Company signed a joint venture contract officially in 1980, establishing the first Sino-Japanese joint venture after diplomatic relations were restored in 1978.
China Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. held its first Founder’s general assembly during its first board meeting in February 1981. After 4 years of construction and preparation, the Tianjin factory was completed and began operations in April 1984. Three decades have passed in a seemingly short span for COP. Its 30th anniversary was a proud and memorable moment for the company.
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The “LUNAR DREAM CAPSULE PROJECT” is an attempt to land a probe on the moon surface for the first time solely by the efforts of private companies. We have entered an era where space travel, which used to be only feasible at the national project level, can be handled by private companies.
The goal is not to just send a drink to the moon. The objective of this project is to inspire young people who become interested in the moon or outer space through this project to go and retrieve the DREAM CAPSULE by themselves in the near future, drink the POCARI SWEAT mixed with the water found on the moon and bring their dreams contained in the capsule back home.
Mr. Masayuki Umeno, Vice President of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. talked about his passion for the project, “Otsuka Pharmaceutical has continued its research into ‘water’ that is close to human body fluid for many years. Based on the research findings, Otsuka released POCARI SWEAT in 1980. In 2013, when we heard the news from NASA that there is water on the moon, I decided to participate in this project.”
The messages to be put inside the capsule are dreams of children gathered from visits to primary schools in and out of Japan.
The drink will be in powder form and stored inside a special titanium can that weighs 1,000g and looks like a regular POCARI SWEAT can.
To continuously endure the harsh environment of the moon where the temperature shifts from minus 170℃ at night to 110℃ during the day, the capsule was developed specifically for this project.
Mr. Nobu Okada, CEO of ASTROSCALE PTE. Ltd., who is in charge of the design and overall technological management of the DREAM CAPSULE, explained the structure of the capsule.
“Small- and medium-sized companies in Japan have remarkable technological capabilities, and are joining all their forces for this project. To bring something to outer space, it is necessary to take into account the vibrations of the rocket, differences in gravity, the vacuum of space, radiation and other influential factors, including the blue color of the DREAM CAPSULE. Due to the difficulty in carrying a colored component into outer space, conventional rockets and artificial satellites have not been color-coated. Nevertheless, with this project, making use of their wisdom and technology, Japanese small- and medium-sized companies have successfully developed a special blue dye, which has passed tests run by NASA.”
Astrobotic Technology Inc., the developer of the lander that will carry the DREAM CAPSULE filled with dreams and technologies to the moon, is a US-based company that delivers affordable space robotics technology and planetary missions.
The company’s CEO, Mr. John Thornton, explained the exploration plan, “From Florida, the lunar lander ‘GRIFFIN’ will be launched with the rocket, which will arrive at the moon about four days later. After orbiting the moon at an altitude of approximately 100 km, the lander will make a soft landing on the surface of the moon.”
“The landing spot on the moon (LACUS MORTIS) is a unique area where there may be a network of underground caves. Such geographical features were discovered by Japan’s lunar probe KAGUYA. The GRIFFIN will land near the spot and certainly deliver your messages to the moon,” said Mr. Thornton.
Mr. Masazumi Gotoda, Senior Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office in charge of the national space policy, shared his view about this privately funded project.
“This is actually a project that should be conducted by the national government. I would like to express my sincere respect and gratitude to the project organizers.”
“The LUNAR DREAM CAPSULE PROJECT involves various aspects, such as technologies, a shift from government to private initiatives, participation of small- and medium-sized companies, and educational issues. Under the leadership of the minister, we will also aggressively promote Japan’s space policy through close public-private partnerships. I wish this project great success, and hope that humanity will enjoy prosperity in the near future, when some of us land on the moon to retrieve the capsule.”
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On May 13, 2014 the new Otsuka offices in Glattbrugg, near Zürich, Switzerland were officially opened. At the opening ceremony, guests were honoured by the presence of Ambassador of Japan to Switzerland, H.E. Ambassador Ryuhei Maeda and his wife.
The opening ceremony was themed around the traditional Japanese cherry blossom festival Sakura Hanami, as a symbol of new beginnings and spring. In addition, the cherry blossom stands for the numerous similarities between Switzerland and Japan. In Switzerland, cherries are a major crop in summer and are celebrated with several specialties, including the famous Kirsch-Schnaps, whereas in Japan cherry blossom is celebrated with a special festival.
Heidi Zbinden, who has been appointed Managing Director of Otsuka Pharmaceutical (Switzerland) GmbH opened the official part of the evening in German, English and Japanese. As former director of marketing and market access at the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck, Heidi Zbinden has extensive experience in the Swiss pharmaceutical market, “I am very proud and excited to be a part of a company that is committed to contributing to the health and well-being of people in Europe through its innovative products and forward thinking approach.”
Dr. Taro Iwamoto, president and CEO of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. travelled from Japan to Switzerland for the opening event and introduced the guests to the philosophy and values of the company, “At Otsuka our aim is to bring our innovation and creativity to all corners of the world, enabling us to contribute to the health of people across the globe. The establishment of our new office in Zurich brings us one step closer to this goal and marks a major milestone in the continued growth of Otsuka in Europe.”
The new offices in Glattbrugg are located only a short drive away from the airport and with good links to the city of Zürich. They provide a welcoming and calm working atmosphere in a modern environment. Currently Otsuka Pharmaceutical (Switzerland) GmbH employs a team of fourteen people.
Otsuka Pharmaceutical (Switzerland) GmbH was also welcomed by the mayor of Opfikon-Glattbrugg, Paul Remund, with a toast during dinner.
With the opening of the new offices in Glattbrugg, Otsuka Europe has taken another step in establishing a long-term presence in Switzerland. Ole Vahlgren, CEO and President of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd. said, “We are proud to introduce our innovative products to the Swiss market and look forward to becoming a valued and trusted partner in the Swiss healthcare community.”