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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.
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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.