News Releases

Feb. 27, 2001

Joint Business Effort in Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF)

Mitsubishi-Tokyo Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Ryuichi Tomizawa) and Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Osaka; President: Masaaki Yokotsuka) concluded an agreement on December 28, 2000, to cooperate in the development of medicinal applications of recombinant human protein preparations based on hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). This joint effort is intended to provide new therapeutic possibilities primarily for chronic obliterating arthropathy (arteriosclerosis obliterans; Buerger's disease).

Mitsubishi-Tokyo Pharmaceuticals has been working for some time to develop a pharmaceutical production process for recombinant human HGF protein. Its manufacturing system nearly complete, the company has been conducting pre-clinical application tests to determine indications for the product. Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals, pursuing its own research into HGF, proposed joining hands with Mitsubishi-Tokyo in order to create a new remedy for chronic obliterating arthropathy.

Agreement thus reached, the two companies will work in close cooperation on the development and marketing of HGF preparations.

As the name indicates, HGF enhances the growth of hepatocytes. Furthermore, it has been pharmaceutically and pharmacologically established that the factor is capable of regenerating and proliferating various cells, as well as vascularizing tissue. This latter action, in particular, appears promising as a therapeutic agent for chronic obliterating arthropathy, which, in serious cases, leads to limb amputation, as well as for cardiac or cerebral infarctions resulting from obstruction of arteries and ischemia of the tissue. Another benefit of HGF is the inhibition of abnormal fibrogenesis in tissues, which is expected to be applicable in the treatment of a variety of diseases, including cirrhosis and chronic nephritis.

In accordance with the present agreement, Mitsubishi-Tokyo will provide raw material to Sumitomo, which in turn will further its endeavors to produce a medicine for chronic obliterating arthropathy, and advance its investigations from the pre-clinical to the clinical stage at the earliest possible time. The two companies will continue research and negotiations on the possibility of developing HGF into other therapeutic products.