Therapeutic Areas
Otsuka people are passionate about developing and delivering medical devices and products in areas with unmet medical needs. We aim to help people with diseases that range from those affecting millions to those that affect relatively few. In Europe, we are focused on central nervous system (CNS) disorders, endocrinology, nephrology, gastroenterology and oncology. For more information about Otsuka’s global portfolio, please visit our global website. For information on products that are currently in the pipeline, please visit the Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. website.
  • CNS disorders
  • Endocrinology
  • Nephrology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Oncology

Central Nervous System (CNS) Disorders

Otsuka’s commitment to providing innovative solutions for central nervous system (CNS) disorders began more than 30 years ago, when our researchers took the first steps in the creation of a drug that would eventually provide a new treatment option for millions of sufferers of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Today, we are also focusing our energy on other important areas that include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, autism, and major depressive disorder (MDD). Otsuka is working in a long-term alliance with Lundbeck, a Danish pharmaceutical company that also has extensive experience in developing drugs for mental health disorders. While creating new products, we put emphasis on providing robust evidence to regulatory authorities showing that any new drugs offer an improvement on what has gone before and that they represent good value in terms of improving patient outcomes. Otsuka strives to be innovative when it comes to educating the stakeholders in the management of mental health disorders. We like to use the phrase ‘beyond the pill’, meaning that we see medication as being just one part of the total care package that we offer to help people cope with the debilitating effects of mental health disorders.


Otsuka’s interest in endocrinology (the medical speciality concerned with hormones) began more than 30 years ago when research began into drugs to help people suffering from a condition in which they are unable to maintain an appropriate fluid balance in their body. One such condition that Otsuka has focused on is hyponatraemia, where changes in the water and salt balance in the body may lead to symptoms that include lethargy, nausea, vomiting and headaches or, more seriously in certain rare circumstances, brain swelling which can lead to confusion, seizures, coma and even death. It has been estimated that hyponatraemia occurs in 15–30 per cent of combined acutely and chronically hospitalised patients. Hyponatraemia may result from various causes, is common in the elderly, and may be detected incidentally, such as on attending accident and emergency departments after a fall. Hyponatraemia is also commonly seen in patients in oncology departments, particularly among sufferers of small cell lung cancer. At Otsuka, we see the major challenge as raising awareness among healthcare professionals of the different causes of hyponatraemia. We are encouraging endocrinologists and nephrologists to liaise with their hospital colleagues to raise awareness that hyponatraemia may exist for reasons instead of, or in addition to, the primary condition that they are treating. Hyponatraemia may have a very significant impact on a patient’s quality of life and is something that can easily be diagnosed and effectively managed.


Otsuka has always had a philosophy of developing and delivering drugs for diseases where there is an unmet medical need, and in nephrology (the medical speciality that concentrates on kidneys), that philosophy is particularly apt. Our main focus in this area is autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), an inherited disease in which fluid-filled cysts grow in the kidneys, impairing their function and eventually resulting in kidney failure. We continue to work in this area to help ADPKD patients and raise awareness of the condition.


Otsuka is committed to increasing the understanding of gastroenterological disorders affecting the digestive tract and developing products that will improve patients’ quality of life. An example of such a commitment is our work in providing Adacolumn® for the treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic condition that affects around one in a thousand people in Europe. Adacolumn® is an apheresis column that contains specially designed carrier beads. When a patient’s venous blood is passed through the Adacolumn®, specific white blood cells are selectively absorbed into the beads before the blood is returned to the patient. This induces remission and response, minimising the use of medication.


At Otsuka, we are determined to be a key player in the battle against the many types of cancer. An area that we are currently focusing on is haematological malignancies, such as acute myeloid leukaemia (a cancer of the blood and bone marrow), where mortality rates are high. For example, of all adults diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia, on average around a quarter (25 per cent) will live for at least five years. Developing new anti-cancer drugs can take a very long time. A major problem is in selecting the right compounds to assess for their potential efficacy as anti-cancer drugs. Traditional high-volume screening of compounds that are candidates for new drugs can sometimes fail due to the complexity and relatively large size of the compounds. So, to advance the speed of discovery of new products, including those to help people with leukaemia, Otsuka recently acquired Astex Pharmaceuticals. Highlighting Otsuka’s commitment to developing innovative drug treatments for patients, Astex is committed to the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases through innovative drug discovery, development and commercialisation. Operating from two main sites, Astex’s drug discovery research headquarters are located in the Cambridge Science Park in Cambridge, UK, housing drug discovery research and preclinical development departments, while the company’s clinical development headquarters are located in the San Francisco Bay area, USA, and house clinical, regulatory, and manufacturing and quality assurance departments. With a rich product portfolio and multiple drugs in clinical development, Astex prides itself on the dedication and passion of its employees who undertake creative research that facilitates the translation of cutting-edge science into novel drug discovery and the development of innovative therapies to treat disease. View more information about Astex Pharmaceuticals