Industry News: Biogen and Eisai Commence Co-Promotion of Multiple Sclerosis Treatments in Japan

16 Jan 2018

Eisai Co., Ltd. and Biogen Japan Ltd. have announced that the companies have commenced co-promotion of Biogen Japan's multiple sclerosis treatments TECFIDERA (dimethyl fumarate), TYSABRI (natalizumab, genetic recombinant) and AVONEX (interferon beta 1a, genetic recombinant) in Japan as of today.

Based on the provisions of the agreement, the two companies will jointly conduct promotional activities at the clinical facilities for which they are responsible and provide information on appropriate use. There will be no change to the manufacturing or logistic systems, and Biogen Japan books sales of the products.

An autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, multiple sclerosis is a serious, chronic, progressive disease accompanied by inflammation. It affects cognitive function, mental and social functions as well as physical functions. With multiple sclerosis, lesions are found widely throughout the central nervous system such as the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, and depending on where these lesions occur, a diverse range of symptoms appear including visual impairment, impaired movement and sensation, as well as abnormal gait.  As such, it can take several years to reach a conclusive diagnosis, and it is a disease with significant unmet medical needs. The incidence of multiple sclerosis in Japan is reported as 10.8 to 14.4 per 100,000.

Eisai Representative Corporate Officer, Japan Business and CIO Hideki Hayashi commented, "Eisai considers neurology a strategic therapeutic area of focus and possesses rich experience and knowledge in neurology products such as Aricept and Fycompa. Leveraging these strengths, we hope to maximize the benefits for multiple sclerosis patients and their families."

Biogen Japan President and Representative Director Shinichi Torii commented, "Biogen is a leading company in multiple sclerosis, and approximately 40% of multiple sclerosis patients worldwide use Biogen's medicines. By co-promoting with Eisai who has strong networks in the field of neurology, we believe we can reliably deliver multiple sclerosis treatments to patients who need them."

About Multiple Sclerosis Treatments TECFIDERA, TYSABRI and AVONEX

TECFIDERA (dimethyl fumarate) is an orally-administered medicine for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, including relapse-remitting multiple sclerosis, the most common type of multiple sclerosis.

TECFIDERA was approved in Japan for the prevention of relapse and for delaying the accumulation of physical disability in multiple sclerosis in December 2016, and was launched in February 2017. First approved in 2013 in the United States, TECFIDERA is currently approved in 54 countries (as of August 2016). TECFIDERA is widely used in the United States and countries in Europe as a first-line treatment, and the number of patients who have been treated with TECFIDERA worldwide to date reached 250,000.

TYSABRI (natalizumab, genetic recombinant) is a humanized monoclonal anti-alpha4 integrin antibody and a disease modifying drug. TYSABRI was approved in Japan for the prevention of relapse and delaying the accumulation of physical disability in multiple sclerosis in March 2014, and was launched in June of the same year. TYSABRI has been approved in over 77 countries worldwide (as of April 2016) including the United States and countries in Europe, and the number of patients who have been treated with TYSABRI worldwide reached 167,000.

AVONEX (interferon beta 1a, genetic recombinant) was approved in Japan for relapse prevention of multiple sclerosis in July 2006, and was launched in November of the same year. In December 2013 a pen formulation was approved and subsequently launched in June 2014.