Sankyo Pharma Inc. Announces Its Second Cardiovascular Product

  Launch   Business Editors   PARSIPPANY, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 26, 2002--Sankyo Pharma:   FDA Grants Marketing Approval to Benicar(TM)   (olmesartan medoxomil) for Treatment of Hypertension   Sankyo Pharma announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug  Administration (FDA) has granted marketing approval for Benicar, the  newest entry to the rapidly growing angiotensin II receptor blocker  (ARB) class, for the treatment of high blood pressure.   Benicar, which will be available in the first half of 2002, can be  administered alone or in combination therapy with other  antihypertensive agents.   Studies have shown that Benicar 20 mg -- the usual recommended  starting dose -- taken once a day, resulted in significant  blood-pressure reduction, lowering systolic blood pressure by an  average of 15 mm Hg(a) and diastolic blood pressure by an average of  12 mm Hg.(1)   "There's a lot of interest in Benicar," said Dr. Michael Weber,  professor of Medicine and associate dean of research, State University  New York Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn, N.Y. "We know  Benicar is very effective at reducing blood pressure. And reducing  blood pressure, even by a couple of extra points as compared with  several existing blood pressure medications, may be important in  reducing patients' risks of strokes, heart attacks and kidney  disease."   Additional studies have shown that Benicar demonstrated superior  blood pressure lowering efficacy over ARB market leader Cozaar(R)  (losartan potassium).(2)(3)   "We are happy to introduce Benicar as the newest addition to our  growing line of quality cardiovascular products," said Joseph P.  Pieroni, President of Sankyo Pharma Inc. "In this disease category,  there's a need for continuous innovation and improvement. Benicar is a  new treatment option that can help patients achieve their  blood-pressure goals. And from a corporate perspective, it is another  example of our commitment to expand in the U.S. market."   Benicar(TM), discovered and developed by Sankyo, is the second in  a line of cardiovascular products that the company launched and the  third product that it will market. In September 2000, Sankyo Pharma  launched WelChol(R) (colesevelam hydrochloride) for the treatment of  hypercholesterolemia. In less than 12 months after launch, WelChol  vaulted to the number one position in its class, with first full-year  sales exceeding $90 million in 2001. In addition, Sankyo is  co-promoting the GlucoWatch(R) Biographer -- the only glucose monitor  to provide readings automatically and non-invasively -- with   Cygnus, Inc.   Sankyo Pharma has selected Forest Laboratories as a long-term  partner to co-promote Benicar (olmesartan medoxomil) to primary care  physicians, cardiologists and nephrologists throughout the country.  This partnership will increase the sales force that promotes Benicar  to over 1,200.   Today, an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from hypertension;  more than 30 percent are unaware that they have high blood  pressure(4), and approximately three-quarters of those being treated  are not reaching the recommended goal of 140/90.(5)   Sankyo Pharma is increasing its presence in the U.S. with new,  advanced cardiovascular products, and is also growing in the diabetes  category with a number of products in its pipeline.   Recently, Sankyo announced that it has entered into a partnership  with MDS Pharma Services, a part of MDS Inc. (NYSE: MDZ; TSE:MDS), in  which MDS will build and manage a Clinical Pharmacology Unit  exclusively for Sankyo Pharma's clinical development division.   About Sankyo   Sankyo Pharma is dedicated to developing and marketing important  pharmaceutical products for the U.S. market. The company has offices  in New York and New Jersey, and a research institute in California.   Sankyo Pharma's parent company, Sankyo Co., Ltd. of Tokyo, is  Japan's second largest pharmaceutical company with annual worldwide  sales of $4.3 billion. Sankyo has a long history of discovering new  classes of drugs, including the statin class of lipid lowering drugs  with its discovery of the first statin, mevastatin, and the  co-discovery of lovastatin, the first statin therapy to be marketed.  Additionally, Sankyo discovered, co-developed and manufactures  pravastatin. Sankyo independently markets pravastatin throughout the  world and through its licensee, Bristol-Myers Squibb. Pravastatin is  marketed as Pravachol(R) in the United States. Detailed information  about Sankyo Pharma is available at www.sankyopharma.com.   Cozaar(R) is a registered trademark of Merck & Co.; Pravachol(R)  is a registered trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Co.   (a) mm Hg = millimeters of mercury of blood pressure -- the   standard for measuring blood pressure.   (1) Data on file.   (2) Oparil S. Williams D, Chrysant, S, Marbury, T, Neutel, J.   Comparative Efficacy of Olmesartan, Losartan, Valsartan, and   Irbesartan in the control of essential hypertension. Journal   of Clinical Hypertension. 2001;3:283-291.   (3) Ball K. A Multi-centre, Double-blind, Efficacy, Tolerability   and Safety Study of the Oral Angiotensin II-Antagonist   Olmesartan Medoxomil Versus Losartan in Patients with Mild to   Moderate Essential Hypertension. J Hypertens. 2001;19 (suppl   2): S153.   (4) Preliminary estimate from The Nation Health and Nutrition   Examination Survey (NHANES III) (1988- 91) CHC/NCHS.   (5) JNC VI.     
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