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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Now displaying: 2015

Welcome to Otsuka Podcast, featuring stories of change from Otsuka Pharmaceutical's global team.

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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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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.”
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.

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.

Feb 27, 2015

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The late chairman of Otsuka Holdings, Akihiko Otsuka (who died in November 2014), has posthumously received the 18th Princess Chichibu Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to Tuberculosis Elimination. This award honors individuals and organizations that have made great achievements in tuberculosis prevention. The ceremony was held on February 27, 2015 at the 66th national convention of the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association, and Otsuka Holdings Vice Chairman Ichiro Otsuka accepted the award in place of the late Chairman Akihiko Otsuka.

History of Princess Chichibu Memorial Award

The Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association holds a national convention every year on March 24, World Tuberculosis Day. In addition, at the bequest of Princess Chichibu, who served as president of the Anti-Tuberculosis Association for more than half a century, the Princess Chichibu Memorial Tuberculosis Prevention Awards were established to memorialize her name and to honor individuals and organizations from Japan and abroad that have made significant contributions to tuberculosis prevention. Each year, on the day of the national convention, the awards are presented with Her Imperial Highness Princess Akishino, association president in attendance.

 During the 1960s, when the tuberculosis epidemic in developed Western countries subsided, interest in development of anti-tuberculosis drugs withered rapidly even though the disease continued to spread in developing countries. Akihiko Otsuka, who became president of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. in the 1970s, realized that tuberculosis was the most serious among Asian health problems, and concluded that the development of more powerful anti-TB drugs was of critical importance for Asian pharmaceutical companies. Following the founding of company’s first drug R&D lab in 1971, he overcame company-internal resistance to make significant investments over the next 30 years as the company continued R&D on anti-TB drugs.

As a result, Deltyba® (delamanid is the generic name) was discovered in 2002, and went on to receive regulatory approval in Japan and Europe in 2014 as a new anti-tuberculosis drug. This innovation arrived 40 years following Rifampicin, the first anti-tuberculosis drug, and 55 years following the discovery of kanamycin in Japan in 1958. The development of delamanid, a drug that has shed considerable light on the treatment of previously intractable multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, and which has significant future potential in the treatment of this serious medical condition, was a manifestation of the company leadership’s clear intent and strong mission.

Otsuka Holdings Representative Director and Vice Chairman Ichiro Otsuka commented, “On the occasion of receiving of this prestigious award, I extend my heartfelt thanks on behalf of my late father. We are gratified that it is useful for the treatment of patients around the world who suffer from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, as this is a fulfillment of the Otsuka Group’s corporate philosophy to contribute to the health of the world’s people."

Otsuka Pharmaceutical has launched a new anti-tuberculosis drug in Japan and Europe for treating multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, which is a public health issue that has become a global threat. In the future, we will continue working to achieve our long-term goal of worldwide elimination of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

Feb 22, 2015

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Otsuka has supported the Tokyo Marathon, one of the largest city marathons in Asia, for 9 years in a row, since its inception. This year's running of the Tokyo Marathon was held on February 22.

The Otsuka Group, a total health care company that handles everything from functional foods and beverages to human pharmaceuticals, provided 36,000 runners rehydration and nutritional assistance, and was the first single corporate group to do so in the history of the Tokyo Marathon.

Tokyo Marathon is one of the six largest and most renowned marathons in the world, and only one Asian race to be recognized as such. 113 countries and regions participated in this year’s marathon, with about 5,000 foreign participants (14% of total runners). The most athlete participants came from Taiwan, with 1,367.

POCARI SWEAT is now available in 18 countries and regions making it a very familiar and trusted brand for worldwide athletes participating in this international event.

In a marathon, when each runner's body is pushed hard for an extended length of time, it is extremely important to get adequate hydration and nutrition before, during, and after the race in order to prevent the body from becoming depleted of water and nutrition and to ensure that the race can be finished safely.

Based on research conducted by Otsuka's own Sports Nutrition Institute, Otsuka Pharmaceuticals provided the runners with various products before the race (Amino-Value, providing BCAA), during the race (POCARI SWEAT, providing water and electrolytes), and after the race (Calorie Mate, providing 5 major nutrients, including protein and sugars). Otsuka provided water and nutritional replenishment to 36,000 runners from around the world both at the EXPO and on the day of the race.

Early in the morning, with a light rain falling, around twenty Otsuka employees, along with volunteers, prepared Amino-Value and Calorie Mate Jelly for runners before the start of the race in order to provide them with the amino acid BCAA and 5 major nutrients.

At stations along the course, runners received POCARI SWEAT to provide them with well known water and electrolytes. In the marathon, when the runners were sweating even in the cold, those runners who remained adequately hydrated were able to perform their best and complete the circuit around Tokyo. Runners who crossed the finish line were handed packages of Calorie Mate to allow them to easily replenish their depleted stores of 5 major nutrients.


Jan 30, 2015

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25th Asia Business Conference

Mr. Daesik Eom, Senior Operating Officer at Otsuka Pharmaceutical was invited to speak at the University of Michigan’s 25th Asia Business Conference in US which has brought leaders of Asia and multinational companies together to discuss, debate, and dialogue about trends in Asia.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical was invited among other world class companies to be part of the conference because of its successful and sound global business recognized in the US as well as throughout the Asia-Pacific countries.

Past conferences have featured speakers from multinational corporations such as Google, Yahoo, Ford Motors, Logic Solutions, DoCoMo, Merrill Lynch, Johnson & Johnson, Mitsubishi Motors, General Motors, Shell, Nike, Satyam, Morgan Stanley, Dow Chemical, Baxter Healthcare and Pfizer.

Mr. Eom spoke at one of the regional panels on Japan, introducing Otsuka Pharmaceutical as a global company with a goal of “creating new products for better health worldwide”

Born in South Korea, he graduated from the Department of Forest Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, at Seoul National University. He then joined Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

At the age of 35, he became President and Representative Director of Korea Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. He was the youngest president for a pharmaceutical company in Korea at that time. Accomplished a great achievement in Korea, he moved to Japan and works for Otsuka Pharmaceutical as his current position in Japan.

Jan 29, 2015

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FoodState is a whole food supplement company based in Derry, New Hampshire. Since its founding in 1973, FoodState has become an innovator in whole food based supplements and has been recognized for great products and strong brands in the natural and healthcare practitioner channels.

One aspect that sets FoodState apart from the competition is its approach to creating nutrients by starting with fresh or frozen whole foods - the focus of its leading brands, MegaFoodTM and INNATE Response FormulasTM.

For MegaFoodTM, everything starts with real farm-fresh fruits, vegetables and botanicals that are used as the base for the brand’s dietary supplements. The tagline “fresh from farm to tablet” means fresh and local foods are sourced from trusted farmers, and then the nutrients and wholesome supplements are made using a one-of-a-kind, proprietary Slo-Food ProcessTM.

As part of this unique approach, FoodState’s MegaFoodTM and INNATE Response FormulasTM, are recognized leaders in their respective channels and known for several key differentiators, including partnering with organic and sustainable farms to source fresh and local foods, and purchasing approximately 500,000 pounds of produce a year from farmers.

FoodState mills and purees whole foods, then integrates additional nutrients to guarantee potency levels. This integration of whole foods and individual nutrients is then dried with the utmost care using refractance window drying technology, also part of the Slo-Food ProcessTM.

The Slo-Food ProcessTM is a slower way of making whole food supplements. It can take 236 hours to make just one batch of finished product. Each and every step, from farm to tablet, was designed with one ultimate goal in mind—to create supplements that make a noticeable difference on consumers’ journey toward optimal health while staying true to the intention of food.

The FoodState team hand crafts each and every product in their own facility right down to the hand-packing of bottles for shipment.

Jan 21, 2015

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Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI), its alliance partner Lundbeck, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Council for Behavioral Health joined in two years ago to organizeConnect 4 Mental Health®. It is an initiative that aims to help communities throughout the United States implement local approaches that provide additional support for those with serious mental illness.

Connect 4 Mental Health (C4MH) encourages community-based organizations, such as emergency services, law enforcement, and public housing, to work with mental healthcare providers and advocates to develop programs that support the estimated 6% of Americans living with serious mental illness.

“Our hope is that Connect 4 Mental Health will ignite a movement inspiring individuals and organizations to collaborate in order to help improve the lives of people with mental illness, one community at a time,” said Donna Erwin, Director, Advocacy and Policy, OAPI.

C4MH has identified four areas of focus that may help communities address mental illness locally: 1) Early Intervention, 2) Creative Use of Technology, 3) Integration of Services, and 4) Continuity of Care.

To recognize organizations that have shown good examples of work in these areas, C4MH implemented a ‘Community Innovation Awards’ program. Winners received a 10,000 USD award and access to a one-on-one mentorship program.

The winning organizations chosen for the 2014 awards:
Early Intervention: NAMI of Collier County (Naples, Florida)
Creative Use of Technology: Crisis Text Line (New York City)
Continuity of Care: Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center (Charleston & Summerville, South Carolina)
Service Integration: Robert Young Center (Moline, Illinois)

Jan 16, 2015

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Otsuka’s commitment to fight TB

Infectious disease experts from around the world gathered in Okinawa, Japan in mid-January for the second Nikkei Asian Infectious Diseases conference. Otsuka signaled its ongoing commitment to the fight against TB by again co-sponsoring the conference.

Game changers

Asia, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the world’s TB burden, clearly must be at the center of the goal to defeat TB globally. The introduction of a new drug for multidrug-resistant TB, as well as1new technologies to diagnose TB and its drug-resistant strains, are perceived as potential “game changers” in the fight against TB in the region.

However, one prominent specialist present noted that a badly designed MDR-TB program may actually cause more harm than having no program at all, citing the need for high-quality drug sensitivity testing and precise follow-up with patients.

This mixture of new optimism and renewed concern about TB prompted the event organizers to select TB as a key theme of the conference.

TB drug development needs to be simpler

Hiroshi Ishikawa, Ph.D. (right) Fellow, Medicinal Chemistry at Otsuka, who was one of the key members of the Otsuka team that developed the drug delamanid, spoke with stirring passion at the conference about the scale of the challenge involved in creating a new TB drug. It included the study of over 14,000 compounds across two decades, something that a single chemist could not hope to accomplish in 100 years.

With an eye toward the future he noted that TB drug development will need to be simpler to reduce costs and facilitate broader access by patients.

Dr. Ishikawa also drew the attention of the audience to broader issues in the fight against TB. One is the need for improved diagnostics, especially kits that can rapidly measure TB bacilli susceptibility to drugs and biomarkers that can differentiate active from latent cases.

Max Yoshitake (left), Leader, Global TB Team was called on by one of the session moderators for his insights on issues such as latent TB, which is present in over 30% of the world’s population. Mr. Yoshitake noted that one important challenge for Otsuka and others will be to shorten the duration of treatment to just a couple of months.

Overall, a sense of cautious optimism filled the conference room. This was suggested by the nearly 45% decline in the TB mortality from 1990 to 2013, partly due to the DOTS (Directly Observed Treat Short Course) and Stop TB strategies. Looking forward, new diagnostics and drugs to treat the most difficult forms of the disease also hold promise. But no one was ready to say that the victory over TB, a disease as old as humanity itself, is near at hand.

Jan 15, 2015

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Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd. (OPEL) has been recognized by Cambridge University as an employer that positively encourages diversity, integrity and innovation by encouraging our employees to be creative and to think unconventionally.

Selection process

During the ‘Employers of Choice’ selection process, Cambridge University shortlisted 60 employers out of 400, focusing on their commitment to a set of procedures and values including: engagement; talent management; providing opportunities for learning & development; diversity; a commitment to wellness and sustainability, governance and transparency.

‘The secret to nurturing fruitful growth – dare to be different’

Otsuka Europe’s selection as an ‘Employers of Choice’ by the University has resulted in an article entitled ‘The secret to nurturing fruitful growth – dare to be different’ in the prestigious ‘Cambridge: Inspiring Leadership & Innovation’ publication.

This publication is widely circulated, both in a printed and e-book format, to over 20,000 Cambridge students, members of the Cambridge Alumni association, UK and government departments, more than 30,000 educational establishments, 17,000 higher and further education institutions worldwide, international accreditation bodies and other global business audiences.

This article focuses on Otsuka’s history and growth, our creative and innovative approach, as well as, highlighting some of the key differences between Otsuka and other pharmaceutical and nutraceutical companies.

‘We’ve never been afraid to do things differently, which sets us apart in the marketplace and helps us stand out.’ Ole Vahlgren, CEO & President – Otsuka Europe.