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.