Oji Pharma pursues drug creation
from wood components.
Why is today the era of
plant-derived raw materials?
Plant-derived raw materials are expected to replace animal-derived raw materials.
The reasons include the reduction of risk of zoonotic diseases, reduction of
environmental burdens and enhancement of traceability, among other factors.
Oji Pharma develops safe and reliable drugs using wood components
and is building a foundation for the consistent supply of the drugs.
Oji Group's unique quest
in papermaking and drug manufacturing
Oji Group has supported Japanese papermaking for more than 150 years.
The foundation of this is our aspiration to plant and grow a tree.
Advocating “forest recycling” in its Code of Conduct, the Oji Group has
continued sustainable forest management. Based on this history,
Oji Pharma's research and development activities utilize its knowledge
in papermaking and make wood components work in drug manufacturing.
Cellulose is used in
paper and hemicellulose
is used in medical drugs
About 50％ of timber is cellulose and about 25％ is hemicellulose (the remaining 25％ is lignin and other substances). Cellulose was extensively used to make paper and fiber. On the other hand, hemicellulose only ended up in a factory's boiler and used as fuel. Focusing on the potentials of hemicellulose, Oji Pharma is developing medical drugs for the future.
Replacing animal-derived raw materials
with their plant-derived counterparts
Heparin is used in medical drugs and has been made from livestock animals such as pigs and cows.
The medical drugs developed by Oji Pharma involve use of plant-derived, sulfated hemicellulose.
Sulfated hemicellulose is a compound that are categorized into sulfated polysaccharides like heparin is.
Unlike heparin, which is animal-derived, the manufacturing of sulfated hemicellulose was made possible
through the refinement and semisynthesis of hemicellulose, a planted-derived material.
Using its original manufacturing method, Oji Pharma succeeded in making sulfated hemicellulose in different forms, which added to the variation in the use of the material. Development goals are set for each characteristic and purpose.
How we envision sulfated hemicellulose in the future
Sulfated hemicellulose is known to inhibit blood coagulation and to have anti-inflammatory and moisturizing effects. We set development goals to maximize these characteristics and pursue commercialization of medical drugs for horses, dogs and other animals within five years and medical drugs for humans within a decade. We are also planning to apply the technology to cosmetics and food and develop and sell products for that purpose.
An industry-academia verification
experiment has also begun
Collaborative research with Hokkaido University is underway as part of our multifaceted
effort for R&D. Professor Masahiro Okumura of the Hokkaido University Graduate School of
Veterinary Medicine is a leader in joint diseases in animals.
Collaborating with Professor Okumura's team, we are conducting an experiment for
verifying the medicinal effects of sulfated hemicellulose against arthritis in horses.