Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company, Takeda, recently signed an agreement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries to commercialize the Israeli company’s innovative treatment for Parkinson’s disease, rasagiline, in Japan.
The rasagiline tablets, which are approved in over 40 countries for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, gained UK and EU-marketing authorization in 2005 and US FDA approval in 2006.
“It is estimated there are about 150,000-180,000 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in Japan, many of whom are waiting for a new treatment option,” said Nancy Joseph-Ridge, M.D., General Manager of Takeda’s Pharmaceutical Development Division located in Osaka, Japan in a press release on April 27.
“We will continue working on the development in cooperation with Teva so that we can bring this medicine to Japanese patients as quickly as possible,” Joseph-Ridge said.
Teva and Takeda entered an agreement in December 2013 to develop glatiramer acetate for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Developed by Teva, rasagiline was initially discovered by two Haifa Technion professors, John Finberg and Moussa Youdim, who were instrumental in the early clinical development of the anti-Parkinson drug.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, whose symptoms include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficultly with walking as well as dementia in advanced stages. An estimated seven to 10 million people suffer from the disease across the world according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
According to Teva’s website, rasagiline is a monoaxmine oxidase B (MAO-B) inhibitor that increases available synaptic dopamine in the brain, which might improve the motor symptoms characteristic of Parkinson’s, slowing the progression of the disease.
“Rasagiline has an established safety and efficacy profile…[it] will be an important product for Japan, where the number of available treatment options for Parkinson’s disease remains limited,” said Dr. Hayden.