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December 27, 2000

Taisho and Suntory Agree to Jointly Develop
Treatment for Acute-Phase Cerebral Infarction

Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., and Suntory Ltd. have reached an agreement to jointly develop SUN N8075, which was initially developed by the Suntory Institute for Medicinal Research and Development. The two companies will also employ SUN N8075 in new products designed to treat acute-phase cerebral infarction. To promote SUN N8075 as a worldwide drug, the two companies will promote clinical testing overseas prior to testing in Japan.

Cerebral infarction occurs when cerebral blood vessels become clogged with thrombus or become constricted or obstructed due to the hardening of the cerebral artery. The resulting lack of blood flow causes wide-ranging necrosis in neural cells and other brain tissue. Although clinical symptoms of this disease and the extent to which it affects patients depend upon the part of the brain in which it occurs, cerebral infarction frequently results in speech disorders, dyskinesia and dementia. Such aftereffects hamper a patient's ability to interact normally in daily life, place a substantial burden on family members and can result in significant nursing care and other medical expenses.

Now in the pre-clinical phase, SUN N8075 has been shown to inhibit the excessive buildup of sodium and calcium ions that flows to neurons when the cerebral blood flow stops, and to have an antioxidization effect. In tests on animals exhibiting cerebral infarction, SUN N8075 has demonstrated its effectiveness at restraining neuron necrosis. Because necrotic neurons do not regenerate, minimizing neutron necrosis at the advent of the disease is essential. Using SUN N8075 to treat patients who experience acute-phase cerebral infarction should minimize the size of the affected region, consequently improving the degree of convalescence.

Currently, Suntory is promoting research and development in the area of the central nervous system. In this field, Suntory also markets Biopten, a treatment for congenital metabolic disease. Memantine, an anti-dementia treatment, is in the second phase of clinical testing. Suntory is also developing SUN N4057, an acute cerebral infarction treatment whose mechanism differs from SUN N8075. The current agreement with Taisho will enable Suntory to strengthen its lineup of products targeting the central nervous system.

Taisho, Japan's leader in the OTC drug industry and the second largest company in this field in the world, views this agreement as an opportunity to bolster the R&D capabilities of its pharmaceutical division. The partnership with Suntory is one example of Taisho's proactive efforts to form cooperative agreements with biopharmaceutical and other companies worldwide.