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December 15, 2004

Taisho Announces Commencement of Phase I Study of Antidepressant/Antianxiety drug, TS-041

Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. [Headquarters: Toshima, Tokyo, Japan, President: Akira Uehara] (hereinafter, Taisho) today announces the commencement of a phase I study of a new antidepressant/antianxiety drug, TS-041, jointly developed with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (hereinafter, Janssen), a Johnson & Johnson company. 

The compound that has been jointly developed by Taisho and Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development (J&JPRD), a division of Janssen, will be further taken through development by J&JPRD worldwide except in Japan, is a corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) receptor antagonist. It is thought that CRF, an endogenous neuropeptide, is primarily synthesized in and secreted by the hypothalamus and plays an important role in regulating physical and mental responses to stress. Studies have found that the level of CRF increases in people with depression, anxiety disorder, or other similar disorders. Inhibiting the function of CRF may therefore represent another way to treat stress-related disorders such as depression and anxiety. 

Taisho and Janssen have concluded agreements on licensing and collaborative research and development of the new CRF receptor antagonist. Under the agreement, Taisho and Janssen jointly fund development expenses worldwide, except in Japan, Taisho grants Janssen exclusive development and marketing rights in specified regions, and Taisho receives milestone payments and royalties from the sale of the product. Taisho owns the development and marketing rights in Japan, and has the option to co-promote the product with Janssen in the USA and major European countries.

Taisho is the number one company in Japan, and the number two company worldwide in the area of OTC drugs. Taisho has been steadily strengthening its research and development in the field of prescription drugs. For example, several original compounds reached the stage of the phase I study in 2003. Taisho will continue actively to carry out its own development, as well as make partnerships with companies in and outside Japan.