Chugai Pharmaceutical is one of the leading research-based pharmaceutical companies in Japan, with strengths in biotech products. Headquartered in Tokyo, Chugai specializes in prescription drugs and is listed in the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. As an important member of the Roche Group, Chugai is actively involved in research and development activities in Japan and abroad. In particular, Chugai is developing innovative products that can meet unmet medical needs, with a focus on oncology. Since the strategic alliance, Roche`s product licensing has expanded our product line and development pipeline. Chugai has won the No. 1 share of the oncology market in Japan.1 SA237 was invented by Chugai to block the activity of the IL-6 receptor and successfully applies Chugais proprietary antibody recycling technology. This design allows the antibody to attach it to the target antigen several times to develop antibody activity. With its design, SA237 should present clinical benefits with small injection volumes and long intervals between injections. Two multinational Phase III studies in patients with neuromyelitis optica, an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system characterized by severe inflammation of the optic nerve and spinal cord, are currently being conducted by Chugai in more than ten countries, including the United States, Europe and Asia. In October 2002, Chugai merged with Nippon Roche on a strategic alliance agreement with Roche, one of the world`s leading pharmacy companies, and Roche acquired the majority of Chugai`s shares. Chugai became a member of the Roche group.
As part of the agreement, Chugai granted Roche an exclusive license to develop and commercialize SA237 worldwide, with the exception of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Chugai will continue to be responsible for the manufacture and supply of SA237. Under the terms of the agreement, Chugai receives a prior royalty, an important milestone and royalties from Roche. The purpose of the licensing agreement is to use Chugais proprietary technologies to develop new antibody therapy drugs. This class of active substances has potential in a variety of diseases and diseases such as Crohn`s disease, breast cancer, arthritis, transplant rejection, leukemia, asthma and psoriasis. Chugai specifically named its proprietary antibody technologies in the Roche license. In Japan, Chugais research institutes are collaborating in Gotemba and Kamakura to develop new pharmaceutical products and Ukima laboratories looking for technological development for industrial production. Overseas, Singapore-based Chugai Pharmabody Research is researching the development of new antibody drugs using innovative engineering technologies for chugais proprietary antibodies.