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Chugai Pharmaceutical to Establish an Oncology Unit.

Tokyo, Japan, Sept 27, 2006 - (JCN Newswire) - Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TSE:4519), will establish an Oncology Unit within its Sales Division as of October 1, 2006. The unit's mission will be to gain society's trust as an oncology partner by providing innovative cancer treatment and comprehensive support to all those fighting cancer.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Japan, with over 320,000 patient fatalities each year. In response, the government is pushing ahead with an array of programs and initiatives to fight cancer. For example, legislation passed in June 2006 introduces measures to 1) promote R&D for overcoming cancer, 2) make the quality of healthcare even and equal, and 3) improve infrastructure for providing treatment. Moreover, the "Conference for Studying the Issue of Using Unapproved Drugs," established last year, is focused on establishing a system to facilitate the implementation of reliable clinical studies for unapproved anti-cancer and other drugs, in combination with treatment covered by health insurance, free of institutional interruption.

The cancer drug market in Japan has shown double-digit growth over the past five years and outperformed the drug market as a whole. Driving this growth are the launch of innovative drugs, such as low-molecular-weight compound, monoclonal antibody agents that target specific molecule, and an increasing number of companies focusing on R&D. The cancer drug market is expected to change dramatically in terms of market size and products in the near future.

Under its medium- to long-term management plan, "Sunrise 2010," Chugai has positioned oncology as a key strategic sector along with renal diseases, bones and joints, and lifestyle diseases. In July 2005, Chugai launched a Strategic Marketing Unit that included an Oncology Disease Area Department to enforce product lifecycle management of cancer drugs. The company has also enhanced its sales organization by assigning specialist MRs to the cancer sectors, and establishing a structure to promptly respond to medical institution and patient needs.

In addition to these measures, Chugai has decided to launch an Oncology Unit in order to adapt to the changing cancer drug market environment through an innovative and comprehensive cancer drug portfolio to further support all those fighting cancer. The number of Oncology District Offices and Oncology MRs will be increased as well.

The Oncology Unit will be established within the Sales Division to integrate sales functions for cancer-related products. The unit will be composed of the following departments: Oncology Disease Area Medical Business & Science Department 1, which will handle bevacizumab, an anti-malignant tumor agent whose application for manufacturing and marketing approvals were submitted to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in April 2006 for a progressive recurrent colon cancer indication; Oncology Disease Area Medical Business & Science Department 2, which will handle oncology-sector products other than bevacizumab, such as erlotinib, whose application for manufacturing and marketing approval was submitted in April 2006; and the Oncology Disease Area Business Planning & Research Department, which will be responsible for coordinating functions across different units, such as collaboration between the Oncology Unit Head Office and the field. In establishing these highly-specialized independent organizations, Chugai aims to thoroughly secure safety by promoting the proper post-marketing use of cancer-sector products. At the same time, the company aims to contribute to cancer treatment and maximize product value by making use of evidence gathered in Japan.

The number of Oncology District Offices will be increased from 24 to 43 and their affiliation will be transferred from branch offices to the Oncology Unit. The direct reporting line between the Oncology Unit and the Oncology District Office will ensure consistency in carrying out strategies. Also, by facilitating prompt communication, Chugai will be able to rapidly disseminate information to medical institutions. The Oncology MR system, which had a total headcount of 111 at the time of its launch in October 2004, has expanded to about 300 at present. In line with this planned organizational change, all Oncology MRs will be affiliated with Oncology District Offices, and the number of MRs will be further increased to about 400.

In its Mission Statement, Chugai dedicates itself to adding exceptional value through the creation of innovative medical products and services for the benefit of the medical community and human health around the world. Chugai seeks to make further contributions through the establishment of this new Oncology Unit.

About Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (TSE: 4519) is one of Japan's leading research-based pharmaceutical companies with strengths in biotechnology products and in the therapeutic fields of oncology, renal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, bone/joint diseases and transplantation/infection/immunity. As a most important member of the Roche group, we aim to become a top Japanese pharmaceutical company by providing a continuous flow of innovative new medicines domestically and internationally. For more information, please visit www.chugai-pharm.co.jp.

Source: Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Contact:
Chugai Pharmaceutical
Mamoru Togashi
General Manager
Corporate Communications Department
Tel: +81-3-3273-0881


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Publication:JCN Newswires
Date:Sep 27, 2006
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