Toray and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Reach North American License Agreement on Antipruritic Agent TRK-820

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New treatment may offer a new option in the care of patients with pruritus.

Toray Industries, Inc. (headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President, CEO and COO: Akihiro Nikkaku; hereinafter referred to as “Toray”) and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (headquarters: Chuo-ku, Osaka; President and CEO: Michihiro Tsuchiya; hereinafter referred to as “Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma”) announced that the companies signed an agreement as of October 14, 2011, regarding exclusive development and marketing of TRK-820 (Toray development code; generic name: nalfurafine hydrochloride), an innovative antipruritic agent developed by Toray in North America.

TRK-820 is a highly selective κ (kappa) opioid receptor agonist. In Japan, it was launched in March 2009 as a treatment for hemodialysis-related uremic pruritus under the brand name REMITCH® CAPSULES 2.5μg (manufactured and marketing approval held by Toray; distributed by Torii Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.; in alliance with Japan Tobacco Inc.). Clinical development is also currently underway for a treatment of pruritus caused by chronic liver disease and atopic dermatitis.

Toray and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma agreed to start clinical development in North America for a treatment of hemodialysis-related uremic pruritus, an indication for which the drug already has been approved and marketed in Japan. Pruritus experienced by hemodialysis patients is non-inflammatory but generalized and severe, and is known to be less related to histamine, a substance generally known to cause itching. Some patients suffer from lack of sleep due to severe itching, which worsens their quality of life (QOL). In addition, scratching results in skin inflammation and infections, which aggravate systemic symptoms. It is well known that conventional antipruritic agents including antihistamines cannot fully suppress this itching; and development of an effective drug has been long awaited in North America.

By licensing in TRK-820, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma enhances its development pipeline in North America for renal diseases, and will actively drive forward its clinical development to bring TRK-820 to the market as early as possible.

Toray anticipates that TRK-820 will become a successful global product by a synergistic effect with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma’s business strategy in the renal disease area in North America.

About Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation
Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company with a legacy more than 300 years old. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma seeks to provide innovative drugs needed by patients and professionals at the front lines of the healthcare system as rapidly and efficiently as possible. For more information, visit:

About Toray Industries, Inc.
Toray is committed to “Innovation by Chemistry” – the pursuit of technological innovations founded on chemistry. The company seeks to contribute to society through the creation of innovative ideas, technologies, and products in four major areas: life science; environment, water, and energy; information, telecommunications, and electronics; and automobiles and aircraft. For more information, visit:


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