The text starts here.

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 1998

Eisai Announces Launch of ARICEPT (donepezil hydrochloride), New Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease in France

Tokyo (March 13, 1998) - Eisai Co., Ltd. of Tokyo (President and CEO:Haruo Naito) today announced that Eisai S.A., an Eisai marketing subsidiary, began marketing on March 12 the once-daily dosed, ARICEPT (donepezil hydrochloride or E2020), a new drug for the symptomatic treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, through co-promotion with Pfizer in France.


ARICEPT is a new reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitor synthesized by Eisai in Japan, and is being developed by Eisai in Japan, Europe and in the US. ARICEPT was approved in the US in November 1996, in the UK in February 1997. ARICEPT was also mutually recognized by 12 countries in Europe in July 1997. ARICEPT has been approved in more than 25 countries worldwide, and is being marketed in 15 countries(Note). ARICEPT is in the Phase III clinical trial stage in Japan.


ARICEPT inhibits acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme which breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, associated with memory and learning, thereby allowing a greater concentration of acetylcholine in the brain. ARICEPT is expected to improve cognition and patient function in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.


Alzheimer's disease affects the central nervous system. It is a progressive form of dementia with symptoms of memory loss, behavioral changes and eventual loss of language and motor skills. An estimated five hundred thousand people in France have Alzheimer's disease, and more than eight million people worldwide.


In November 1994, Eisai Co., Ltd. and Pfizer Inc formed a strategic alliance for the co-promotion of ARICEPT in the US, UK, Germany and France. Eisai and Pfizer began marketing ARICEPT in the US in January 1997, in the UK in April and in Germany in October.


Eisai Co., Ltd. is a research-based human health care company which discovers, develops and markets products in more than 30 countries. Through its global network of research facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, Eisai actively participates in all aspects of the worldwide health care systems. The company reported sales of $2.3 billion in 1996 with approximately 14 percent of sales spent for research and development.


Note: As of the end of February 1998, ARICEPT is being marketed in the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Austria, Poland, Israel and Mexico.