May 26, 2010
Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp.
ReqMed Company, Ltd.
bene pharmaChem GmbH & Co., KG

Initiation of Phase IIa clinical trial for pentosan polysulfate for osteoarthritis
Asahi Kasei Pharma has initiated a Phase IIa clinical trial in Japan for pentosan polysulfate sodium (pentosan) for knee osteoarthritis.

In June 2008, Asahi Kasei Pharma concluded a license agreement with ReqMed Company, Ltd. and bene pharmaChem GmbH & Co., KG, receiving exclusive rights in Japan to develop and sell pentosan polysulfate sodium (pentosan) for the indication of osteoarthritis. With the initiation of this Phase IIa clinical trial in Japan, development milestones will be paid to RecMed and bene pharmaChem under the terms of the license agreement. Asahi Kasei Pharma intends to swiftly confirm the clinical efficacy of pentosan through this trial, and rapidly advance to successive development stages.

Pentosan is a semi-synthetic compound derived by chemically modifying a polysaccharide extract from beechwood. It has been approved and sold both inside and outside Japan as a veterinary pharmaceutical for osteoarthritis, and human clinical studies in Australia and Japan suggest benefit in its use as a treatment for osteoarthritis. Pentosan has been approved overseas as an anticoagulant and as a therapy for interstitial cystitis. The development of pentosan is being advanced in the expectation that it will show efficacy for osteoarthritis based on a different pharmacological function than with those indications.

Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most frequently occurring forms of osteoarthritis. Aging is a known risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, and the rate of occurrence among people aged 50 and older is 44.6% for men and 66.0% for women. A rough estimate based on the Japanese population by age group as of 2004 indicates the number of people suffering from knee osteoarthritis to be 24 million-8.4 million men and 15.6 million women. (Source: 22nd Century Medical Center, Graduate School of Medicine and Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo)
About ReqMed
  Located in Machida, Tokyo, Japan, and led by President & CEO Dr. Tadashi Matsumoto, ReqMed was established in 1998 to serve as a bridge between biotech ventures and pharmaceutical firms. Operations are focused on pharmaceuticals development through early establishment of "proof of concept" and increasing added value with alliances, business development consulting, and investments in biotech ventures. Please visit for more information.
About bene pharmaChem
  Located in Geretsried, Germany, and led by Managing Director Dr. Harald Benend, bene pharmaChem is part of the Dr. W. Benend GmbH & Co., KG Group, which invented pentosan as an anticoagulant in 1947 and sells it as a pharmaceutical in markets centered on Europe. Operations of bene pharmaChem are focused on the development of pentosan for additional indications and the worldwide supply of pentosan as an active pharmaceutical ingredient. Please visit for more information.


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