TOKYO, December 25, 2020 -- Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TOKYO: 4519) announced that the company and Nara Medical University have jointly won the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) Award at the fourth Japan Medical Research and Development Grand Prize for “Discovery of the bispecific antibody which mimics the function of coagulation factor VIII.” In the project, Chugai collaborated with Department of Pediatrics at Nara Medical University, which is at the forefront of basic/clinical research on hemophilia.
The purpose of the Japan Medical Research and Development Grand Prize is to praise achievements that greatly contributed to promotion of research and development in healthcare, to deepen public interest and increase incentives for researchers. The awards have been given every year since fiscal year 2017, making this year the fourth time. Chugai’s Hemlibra®, a treatment for hemophila A widely used worldwide, received the MHLW Minister's Award for its distinguished achievement in improving and promoting social welfare, social security, and public health.
“We are greatly honored to jointly receive the MHLW Minister's Award at the Japan Medical Research and Development Grand Prize with Nara Medical University,” said Dr. Osamu Okuda, Chugai’s President and COO. “COVID-19 reminded us of importance and difficulties of research and development in healthcare. We will continue to pursue innovation that can be achieved only by Chugai based on its proprietary science and technologies all for the benefit of patients around the world.”
“Hemlibra prevents bleeds and has the potential to greatly improve the lives and activities of people with hemophilia A. The burden on their family has also been greatly reduced. The benefits of using Hemlibra have been highly recognized by a large number of patients globally. It is a great pleasure as a hemophilia specialist that I had a chance to participate in the development of this medicine,” said Dr. Midori Shima, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President /Dean, School of Medicine, Nara Medical University.
|Prize name||The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Award, Japan Medical Research and Development Grand Prize|
|Title||Discovery of the bispecific antibody which mimics the function of coagulation factor VIII|
|Prize winner||Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Dr. Midori Shima, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President / Dean, School of Medicine, Nara Medical University
|Achievement||Chugai created a bispecific antibody that mimics the function of factor VIII, which is deficient/missing in hemophilia A, and brings together activated factor IX and factor X. The antibody was commercialized as emicizumab (Hemlibra subcutaneous injection) after joint research with Nara Prefectural Medical University. Hemlibra has been approved in more than 90 countries worldwide.|
Hemlibra is a bispecific monoclonal antibody, which was developed using Chugai’s proprietary antibody engineering technologies. The drug is designed to bind factor IXa and factor X. In doing so, Hemlibra provides the cofactor function of factor VIII in people with hemophilia A, who either lack or have impaired coagulation function of factor VIII1, 2). Hemlibra is approved in more than 90 countries, since the product has been approved for routine prophylaxis to prevent or reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes in adult and pediatric patients with hemophilia A (congenital factor VIII deficiency) with factor VIII inhibitors for the first time in the world by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2017.
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1) Kitazawa, et al. Nature Medicine 2012; 18(10): 1570
2) Sampei, et al. PLoS ONE 2013; 8(2): e57479
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