A Focus on Early Stage Opportunities

Ron Newbold PHD, MBA SR. VP, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & ALLIANCES

As Senior Vice President, Business Development & Alliances, Ron Newbold focuses on bringing together resources from both Otsuka and Avanir to create a highly effective business development function. He works closely with our U.S. leadership team, and senior leadership in both Europe and Japan to develop and execute on a comprehensive business development strategy.

In an earlier post, I provided an overview of Otsuka, our mission in Business Development (BD), and what we offer to potential collaborators.   In this post, my colleague, Bill Zeruld hopes to provide a greater sense of what we are looking for when considering potential BD opportunities.  We are rapidly expanding our global BD team to identify new opportunities that can help us continue our journey to provide innovative treatments that improve human health. ----------Thanks to the creation of a group in Japan dedicated to evaluating pre-clinical opportunities, our BD teams around the globe can now more readily assess early-stage research (pre-clinical) product and platform technology opportunities to determine if a potential collaboration is a good fit with Otsuka’s portfolio strategy. To support this new focus, we’ve established BD staff on the East and West Coasts of the U.S. to be in close proximity to the centers of innovation in the life sciences industry.  We’re also making sure that Otsuka has BD representatives or leaders at major events where new clinical information, or new collaboration opportunities, may arise.And our staff are looking forward to hearing from others in the community who are interested in working together. So, what are we looking for? Unlike some companies that cast a wide net, we are trying to focus on disease states where we already have experience, knowledge, and expertise. To that end, we are focusing on identifying new pharmacologic and digital opportunities in disorders of the central nervous system, renal disease, and oncology.CNSFor anyone who has been following Otsuka, the focus on disorders of the Central Nervous System (CNS) should come as no surprise.  In fact, I was personally drawn to Otsuka because of its dedication to neuroscience, a field that many other companies have exited in recent years, in large part due to the complexity of neurological diseases.Our current portfolio includes several products for the treatment of serious mental illness, and our pipeline includes potential treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, opioid addiction, and other mental health and neurological conditions. The company’s focus on neuroscience spans not just disease modification but also symptoms management.  Renal DiseaseOtsuka recognizes that renal disease, like CNS disorders, is an undertreated category. Chronic Kidney Disease, for instance, is prevalent in about 14% of the U.S. population, and can cause other health problems, such as heart disease. The impact on society is significant.  An estimated 660,000 Americans have kidney failure, and of those 468,000 are on dialysis.With this in mind, we are seeking new molecular entities or biologics to address different conditions that impact the renal system.  From rare diseases like autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), to a broader examination of kidney disorders, we are seeking novel treatments that can bring relief, improve lifestyle, or slow the progression of renal diseases. There are few companies investing in this space, and we know we can be a strong collaborator that can help other organizations make the most out of research conducted to date. We’ve recently gained approval of the first treatment for ADPKD in the U.S., solidifying our commitment to this disease stateOncologyWhile there have been some significant advances in the treatment of cancer, we recognize that there is still much to accomplish.  We are therefore looking for ways to add to our pipeline of potential cancer treatments and our current expertise in blood cancers. Our approach in oncology leverages precision medicine – understanding the molecular basis of a particular disease and targeting approaches to reverse or impede disease progression.While some organizations are exploring oncologic immunotherapies, we are focusing on different approaches for tackling solid tumors and cancers of the blood, leveraging existing Otsuka assets in development. Digital Technologies In addition to seeking novel pharmacologic solutions, Otsuka has been at the forefront of the digital technology revolution. From our breakthrough work with Proteus to secure FDA approval for the first Digital Medicine System to our collaboration with Science 37 to enable clinical trials at home, Otsuka has been a true pioneer in applying the power of digital technologies to improve health. We are actively seeking out new technologies, from digital therapeutics and digital biomarkers to big-data analysis methods to remote monitoring and tracking solutions that can be applied to our work in CNS, renal disease, or oncology. Contact Us I hope that this post provides a glimpse into who we are, what we are looking for, and what sets us apart.  We are focused, determined, and willing partners, and always looking for new opportunities that align with our business strategy.  If you have an idea to share or would like to talk with someone on my team about working with Otsuka on a project, please let me know by submitting a comment below.
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