Artz is an anti-osteoarthritis drug. Its active pharmaceutical ingredient is purified sodium hyaluronate extracted from rooster combs, and it has viscoelastic, water-retentive, and lubricating properties. In 1987, Artz was introduced into the market as the world’s first sodium hyaluronate drug indicated to treat osteoarthritis of the knee by intra-articular injection. In 1989, an indication was added for the treatment of shoulder periarthritis. In 1992, Artz began being marketed in disposable pre-filled syringes under the trade name Artz Dispo. Artz Dispo was done with the aim of making injection procedures simpler and faster as well as reducing the danger of infection. In 2005, Artz was approved for an indication to treat knee joint pain accompanied by rheumatoid arthritis.
Launched in Japan in September 2014, Clenafin is the country’s first topical treatment for onychomycosis. Clenafin contains efinaconazole, which was discovered by KAKEN, as its active ingredient. Clenafin does not bind well with keratin, the main component of nails, meaning that this drug has superior nail penetrating properties. Clenafin has proven effective in treating onychomycosis through one daily application to the infected nails. Clenafin comes packaged in a bottle with a connected brush, making it easy to apply the drug across the surface of nails. In 2014, Clenafin was launched in the United States and Canada under the trade name Jublia by Canadian company Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc.
Developed by Genzyme Corporation of the United States (which was later acquired by Sanofi S.A. of France), Seprafilm is a sheet-type anti-adhesive absorbent barrier. Made from sodium hyaluronate and carboxymethyl cellulose, Seprafilm transforms into a hydrated gel within 24 to 48 hours after being applied to tissue that has been damaged by surgery. It then remains in place for approximately seven days, preventing adhesion by forming a physical barrier between damaged tissue and the healthy tissue surrounding it. There are currently four sizes of Seprafilm available, thus allowing practitioners to select the size that best meets the needs at hand.
Lipidil is a fibrate-type anti-hyperlipidemic drug with fenofibrate, which was developed by Groupe Fournier SA of France (which was later transferred to Abbott Laboratories of the United States after acquisition by Solvay SA of Belgium), as its active pharmaceutical ingredient. This drug lowers triglycerides and total cholesterol, while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol, thus improving overall lipid metabolism. This is accomplished by activating peroxisome proliferator activated receptor α (PPARα) in the liver cells to adjust the expression of various lipid metabolism-related proteins. Lipidil is currently marketed in over 90 countries, and a significant amount of clinical experience has been accumulated to date. In 2011, Lipidil was released in tablet form. The change from capsule to tablet has made Lipidil even easier for patients to take.
Fiblast Spray is a wound-healing drug containing trafermin as an active pharmaceutical ingredient. Trafermin is a recombinant human basic Fibroblast Growth Factor (bFGF) that has effects on the promotion of angiogenesis and granulation formation. The entire DNA sequence of the human bFGF gene was mapped by Scios Inc. (which was later acquired by Johnson & Johnson of United States), thus making it possible to manufacture recombinant human bFGF. KAKEN obtained a license to develop this product, and subsequently launched Fiblast Spray, the world’s first recombinant human bFGF product, in Japan in 2001.
Mentax is a topical product used to treat superficial mycosis. Mentax contains butenafine hydrochloride, a compound developed by KAKEN, as an active pharmaceutical ingredient. Mentax is provided in three forms, as a cream, a liquid (for external application), and a spray. Mentax is sold in the United States by Mylan Pharmaceuticals and is also marketed in a number of other countries worldwide. In December 2001, Mentax received approval as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug in the United States, and it is now sold in the United States by Bayer AG of Germany (which acquired the consumer care business of Merck Consumer Care, the company originally licensed to sell Mentax in this market) under the trade name Lotrimin Ultra.
In Japan, the public is being encouraged by the government to use generic drugs as part of a movement to reduce public healthcare costs. As a result, there has also been an increasing trend toward using generic drugs in the medical field. KAKEN sees the future expansion of the generic drug market as a significant business opportunity, and is therefore aggressively increasing its presence in this market in order to take full advantage of this opportunity.