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Parkinson’s disease drug produced by Israeli company now being sold in Japan

By Mason White 4:03 PM May 29, 2014
Pill illustration 

By: Anav Silverman
A Parkinson’s disease drug that is being produced by an Israeli company is now being marketed in Japan, the Tazpit News Agency reported.

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 U.K. and E.U.-marketing authorization in 2005, and U.S. FDA approval in 2006.

“It is estimated there are about 150,000 to 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.

“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.

“This agreement represents Teva’s continued commitment to introducing our innovative medicines to patients in Japan,” added Teva Global R&D president and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Michael Hayden.

Teva and Takeda entered into an agreement last year 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’s drug.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, whose symptoms include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty 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.