Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, CEO: Haruo Naito, “Eisai”) announced today that it has entered into a marketing and distribution agreement with Orion Corporation (Headquarters: Espoo, Finland; CEO: Timo Lappalainen, “Orion”) concerning its Parkinson's disease treatments Comtan®(entacapone) and Stalevo®(levodopa/entacapone/carbidopa combination agent) in China.

Under the terms of the agreement, Eisai acquired from Orion the exclusive rights to market the two products in China, and began distribution and promotion through its Chinese subsidiary Eisai China Inc. (Location: Suzhou, Jiangsu Province).

Eisai has a diverse range of neurology products in China, including Parkinson's disease treatment Eldepryl® (monoamine oxidase inhibitor), anti-Alzheimer's agent Aricept® and the peripheral neuropathy treatment Methycobal®. Through the addition of Comtan and Stalevo, Eisai has strengthened its product lineup for Parkinson's disease treatment, and is now able to provide multiple treatment options with different mechanisms of action for patients with Parkinson's disease in China (approx. 1.7% of the population aged 65 years and over)1.

Parkinson's disease is thought to be caused by a shortage of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Levodopa is used to treat Parkinson's disease by transforming into dopamine inside the brain. By replenishing the brain's supply of dopamine, Parkinson's disease symptoms are alleviated. Metabolic enzyme inhibitors are widely used to prevent peripheral metabolism of levodopa, helping it to move to the brain more efficiently.

Comtan, which is used in combination with levodopa, is an agent that helps levodopa reach the brain by inhibiting peripheral metabolism by catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT).
Stalevo is a combination agent consisting of levodopa, and two other compounds which help levodopa reach the brain, namely entacapone and carbidopa (a decarboxylase inhibitor). Combining the compounds into a single tablet reduces the burden on patients who have difficulty swallowing, and is expected to improve drug compliance.

Eisai defines neurology as a therapeutic area of focus, and through this marketing agreement for Parkinson disease's treatments, Eisai seeks to make further contributions to address the diversified needs of and increase the benefits provided to patients suffering from neurological diseases including Parkinson's disease in China.

Media Inquiries:

Public Relations Department,
Eisai Co., Ltd.


< Notes to editors >

1.About Orion Corporation

Orion is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company - a builder of well-being. Orion develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, active pharmaceutical ingredients and diagnostic tests. The company is continuously developing new drugs and treatment methods. The core therapy areas of Orion's pharmaceutical R&D are central nervous system (CNS) disorders, oncology and respiratory for which Orion develops inhaled Easyhaler® pulmonary drugs. Orion's net sales in 2016 amounted to EUR 1,074 million and the company had about 3,500 employees. Orion's A and B shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. Founded in 1917, Orion celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2017.

2.History of Eisai's Business in China

Eisai has been conducting business in China for over 25 years. Eisai expanded into the market in 1991 through a joint venture company, and in 1996, established Eisai China Inc. (Suzhou, Jiangsu Province), a 100% subsidiary with manufacturing / marketing capabilities. In 2010, Eisai (Suzhou) Trading Co., Ltd. was established for directly importing products and in December 2015, Eisai entered the generic pharmaceutical business in China by buying out Eisai (Liaoning) Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. for the purpose of providing a stable supply of high-quality generic medicine to fulfil the medical needs of Chinese patients. These three companies were consolidated under Eisai China Holdings Ltd, which was established in December, 2014. The core products of Eisai's Chinese business include Parkinson's disease treatment Eldepryl, anti-Alzheimer's agent Aricept, peripheral neuropathy treatment Methycobal, liver disease/allergic disease agents Stronger Neo-Minophagen® C / Glycyron® tablets, and proton pump inhibitor Pariet®.

  • 1
    Zhang ZX et al. Parkinson's disease in China: prevalence in Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai. The Lancet, 2005; 365(9459), 595-597