Feb 2013

Otsuka’s Antipsychotic Aripiprazole Awarded the 60th Okochi Memorial Prize


Tokyo, Japan, February 25, 2013 - Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Otsuka) was awarded the 60th Annual Okochi Memorial Grand Technology Prize from the Okochi Memorial Foundation, for the development of aripiprazole, an antipsychotic medication. The award ceremony will take place at the Industrial Club of Japan on March 26, 2014.

The Okochi Memorial Prizes, with an esteemed reputation and history, are awarded to honor individuals and business entities making remarkable contributions in the areas of industrial engineering and manufacturing techniques. The awards were established in memory of Dr. Masatoshi Okochi for his distinguished services as former President of the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (widely known as RIKEN). The Okochi Memorial Grand Technology Prize, which is the superlative among the Okochi prizes, is awarded annually to individuals singly or in small groups who contribute to academic and industrial advancement through original research on manufacturing and engineering techniques.

Otsuka was granted the Okochi Memorial Grand Technology Prize for developing aripiprazole (marketed as ABILIFY®) as the first-and-still-sole-third-generation antipsychotic.ABILIFY has a unique mechanism of action called dopamine D2 receptor partial agonism which improves both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Cutting-edge manufacturing and quality control processes for aripiprazole, as well as achievement and maintenance of a stable supply of active ingredients for large-scale production were also attributed factors for receipt of the prize.

Otsuka Recipients of the Okochi Memorial Grand Technology Prize

Yasuo Oshiro, Ph.D., Corporate Advisor
Intellectual Property Department

Seiji Sato, Ph.D., Senior Researcher
First institute of New Drug Discovery, Medicinal Chemistry Group

Youichi Taniguchi, Director
Bulk Pharmaceutical Chemicals Department, Second Tokushima Factory

Hisayuki Tsujimori, Ph.D., Manager
Bulk Pharmaceutical Chemicals Department, Second Tokushima Factory

Satoshi Aoki, Associate Manager
Bulk Pharmaceutical Chemicals Department, Second Tokushima Factory

About Aripiprazole

Aripiprazole is the world’s first commercialized dopamine D2 receptor partial agonist, an antipsychotic marketed as ABILIFY. It was first approved in the US in 2002 and is currently marketed in 60 countries and regions around the world. ABILIFY stabilizes dopamine activity by suppressing it when excessive and stimulating it when dopamine activity is low. ABILIFY is acknowledged for its combination of robust efficacy and a superior side effect profile, enabling patients to continue treatment without suspension. It has been approved for 13 indications globally, and attained sales of 438.5 billion Yen in 2012. ABILFY was ranked the top-selling drug in the US in 2013*.

Aripiprazole was also awarded the Imperial Invention Prize from the Japanese Institute of Invention and Innovation in 2013. http://www.otsuka.co.jp/company/globalnews/2013/0618_01.html

Aripirazole has been created in a once-monthly injectable form called Abilify Maintena® to help those patients with schizophrenia who have difficulty remaining compliant with their medication in daily tablet form. The product was approved for use in the US and in Europe in 2013 and in Canada earlier this month. An application has been filed in Japan for marketing authorization.

  • * Copyright 2014 IMS Health. All rights reserved. estimated based on IMS World Review 2007-2012 and IMS World Review Preview 2013. Reprinted with permission.

Information in this news release was current as of the original release date.


Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (OPC) is a global healthcare company with the corporate philosophy: 'Otsuka-people creating new products for better health worldwide.' Otsuka researches, develops, manufactures and markets innovative and original products, with a focus on pharmaceutical products for the treatment of diseases and nutraceutical products for the maintenance of everyday health. 

In pharmaceuticals, Otsuka is a leading firm in the challenging area of mental health and also has research programs for several under-addressed diseases including tuberculosis, a significant global public health issue. These commitments illustrate more powerfully than words how Otsuka is a “big venture” company at heart, applying a youthful spirit of creativity in everything it does. 

Otsuka Canada Pharmaceutical Inc. (OCPI) is an innovative, fast-growing health care company that commercializes Otsuka medicines in Canada. OCPI aims to improve the quality of life and health of patients through its commitments to neuroscience, cardiovascular health, oncology and nephrology. OCPI was established in 2010, with headquarters in Saint-Laurent, Quebec.


OCPI is part of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd., based in Tokyo, Japan. The Otsuka group of companies employed 45,000 people worldwide and had consolidated sales of approximately CAD 14.5 billion (USD 11 billion) in 2016.

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