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Edited Transcript of 4508.T earnings conference call or presentation 4-Feb-20 8:00am GMT

Q3 2020 Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp Earnings Call

Osaka Feb 11, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 8:00:00am GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Eizo Tabaru

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation - Managing Executive Officer & Director

* Yoshiaki Takai

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation - VP & Head of Corporate Communications Department

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Conference Call Participants

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* Kazuaki Hashiguchi

Daiwa Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - Research Analyst

* Seiji Wakao

Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd., Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Shinichiro Muraoka

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Tomohiko Sano

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This conference call is for Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation's Fiscal 2019 Third Quarter Business Results. First, there will be a presentation on the overview of the business results for the third quarter for about 20 minutes, followed by a Q&A session. The entire conference call is scheduled to last for about 45 minutes.

Before starting the conference, a cautionary statement. The presentation contains forward-looking statements that are based on a number of assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to management of the company. And are subject to significant risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

I now give the floor to Mr. Takai from the Corporate Communications Department.

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Yoshiaki Takai, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation - VP & Head of Corporate Communications Department [2]

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We will now begin Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation's Fiscal 2019 Third Quarter Earnings Briefing. Today's participants are Eizo Tabaru, Member of the Board, Managing Executive Officer, CFO; Yasutoshi Kawakami, Executive Officer, Head of Sales and Marketing Division; and (inaudible), Head of Ikuyaku Strategy and Planning Department, Ikuyaku Integrated Value Development Division.

I am Yoshiaki Takai, Head of Corporate Communications Department. We will first have a presentation on the business results from Eizo Tabaru, and then take your questions.

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Eizo Tabaru, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation - Managing Executive Officer & Director [3]

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Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to participate in Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation's Fiscal 2019 Third Quarter Earnings Briefing Conference Call. I am Eizo Tabaru, member of the Board, Managing Executive Officer. Today, I will cover the overview of the business results, status of priority products and development pipeline, followed by status of becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation.

First, business results for the third quarter of fiscal 2019. Please turn to Page 2. Among the revenue, sales of priority products in Japan grew during the third quarter, continuing on from the second quarter despite the impact of NHI drug price revisions. On the other hand, Gilenya's royalty income decreased because due to ongoing arbitration proceedings with Novartis Pharma, a part of the royalty income of Gilenya has not been recognized as sales revenue in accordance with IFRS 15. As a result, revenue declined by 10.5% or JPY 35 billion year-on-year at JPY 297.4 billion. All of the profit and loss lines were affected by Gilenya royalty and posted a year-on-year decrease in profit, namely, gross profit down JPY 38.9 billion at JPY 154.3 billion, core operating profit down JPY 31.3 billion at JPY 24.1 billion. And net profit attributable to owners of the company, down JPY 23.2 billion at JPY 18.2 billion. Regarding the full year forecast, as expenses are incurred almost as planned and are expected to amount to the forecast level, we have made no change to the initial forecast announced in May.

Next, variance analysis of revenue. Sales of domestic ethical drugs increased by JPY 10.3 billion, owing to the contribution of STELARA for which the co-promotion framework with Janssen Pharmaceutical K.K was updated last fiscal year as well as growth in sales of priority products such as Rupafin, SIMPONI and CANAGLU. Overseas ethical drugs declined JPY 4.4 billion year-on-year. RADICAVA sales were down JPY 3.2 billion, mainly because the initial round of prescribing to patients on the waiting list had all but completed. But the sales revenue was more or less in line with the guidance. The total number of patients receiving RADICAVA totaled approximately 4,500 as of the end of December on a cumulative basis. Royalty income and others was down JPY 41.3 billion year-on-year, mainly due to a decrease in Gilenya royalty and others, as explained earlier. As a result, revenue decreased by JPY 35 billion at JPY 297.4 billion.

Next, cost of sales, SG&A expenses and core operating profit. Cost of sales increased by JPY 3.8 billion, and sales cost ratio rose 6.2 points to 48.1% mainly due to the impact of NHI price revisions, changes in the product mix and a decrease in royalty income and others.

SG&A expenses were reduced due to the promotion of operational productivity reforms and among R&D expenses, a part of development project expenses decreased. As a result, core operating profit decreased by JPY 31.3 billion to JPY 24.1 billion.

Next, items below core operating income. Operating income fell JPY 31.4 billion to JPY 24.9 billion. Financial income and expense were as you can see, changes in expense reflects impact of exchange rates. As a result, net profit decreased by JPY 23.2 billion at JPY 18.2 billion.

Now the status of our main products. Please turn to Page 7. Here are the main topics in Japan and overseas. First, domestic priority products. REMICADE, SIMPONI and STELARA for immune-mediated inflammatory disorders showed good progress as planned in the third quarter, driving domestic sales revenue.

Next, 3 diabetes mellitus treatment agents; DPP-4 inhibitor, TENELIA; SGLT2 inhibitor, CANAGLU; and a combination drug, CANALIA. TENELIA continued to perform well. In January, application was filed for an additional dosage form for OD tablets that can be taken without water. Regarding CANAGLU, we are promoting the contribution of treatment to patients with diabetes by continuing to provide appropriate information on the CREDENCE study announced last April. CANAGLU received the Prime Minister's award of the Third Japan Medical Research and Development Grand Prize announced in January of this year. This is the award given in recognition of extremely outstanding achievement.

As for vaccine, we achieved a share of 22.3% (sic) [22.8%] in the domestic market between April and December 2019, putting us in the top position in the market. In this season, concerns have been raised in the media reports for early outbreak of influenza but the shipment before the season and other measures taken, allowed for a stable supply in the market.

Last but not least, as a major product overseas, RADICAVA in the U.S. reached total sales of JPY 17.3 billion up to the third quarter, which was in line with the plan. The full year forecast is JPY 22 billion.

Let me now discuss the development pipeline. Please take a look at Page 9. I will share with you the status of progress in each of the global late-stage projects. As for MT-1186, an oral suspension formulation of RADICAVA, which is an ALS treatment drug, we started a long-term safety study in November. The injection formulation of RADICAVA has been filed for approval in different countries and regions in parallel. And during the third quarter, NDA was filed in Indonesia and Thailand. ND0612 completed a 1-year safety study and is now going through data analysis, and a Phase III study to compare it to oral drugs is currently underway. MT-2271, a seasonal influenza VLP vaccine, is now under discussion with FDA ahead of the NDA submission in the U.S.

Next, I will discuss each of the projects that have finished POC. First on MT-7117. We have achieved POC for patients with EPP, erythropoietic protoporphyria, which allowed us to start preparations for its late-stage development. It is now being developed as an oral agent to prevent photosensitivity in patients with EPP and was granted fast-track designation by FDA in 2018.

This shows the overview of MT-7117 POC study. The POC study was conducted for 102 EPP patients in which significant increase of time to the first occurrence of prodromal symptoms upon sun exposure was observed in the study drug groups compared to placebo group. The result of this study is scheduled to be published in a scientific congress in fiscal 2020. The start of Phase III study is expected in fiscal 2020 and NDA submission in the U.S. in fiscal 2021.

Next, I'll explain about MT-8554. A POC study in patients with vasomotor symptoms or VMS has been completed. As a non hormone therapy considered to provide high degree of safety, it is expected to suppress hot flashes and sweating in the menopausal and perimenopausal periods. This is an overview of MT-8554 POC study. It was carried out for 375 postmenopausal VMS patients and efficacy of the compound was demonstrated, measuring changes in frequency and severity of VMS as endpoints. Results will be presented at a scientific congress in fiscal 2020. We're now in consultation with FDA on the design of Phase III study while seeking potential alliance partners in parallel.

The next project is MT-3995 on Page 14. The POC study in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH, has been completed with nonsteroidal skeleton. It is highly specific to the target molecule and expected to reduce adverse reactions related to sex hormones. Furthermore, we can expect it to block organ damage factors by suppressing by MR signaling and to correct metabolic disorders by improving insulin resistance as well as to exert anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects.

This is an overview of the POC study of MT-3995. The target population was 48 NASH patients. In this study, percent change from baseline in ALT, an indicator for hepatic disorder, and several fibrosis biomarkers showed a decreasing tendency in the MT-3995 group compared to the placebo group. Partnering activities are underway currently.

Please take a look at Page 16. Here, you can see the status of major development pipeline. Those with progress seen since the announcement of the second quarter earnings results are highlighted in blue. The next page shows the launch plan for major development pipeline.

Next, let me discuss the status of the plan by Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, MCHC, to make us its wholly owned subsidiary. MCHC, our parent company, on November 18 last year, announced a tender offer for our common shares and carry it out from November 19, 2019 to January 7, 2020. On January 8, 2020, MCHC announced the results showing its voting rights ownership ratio reached 91.57%. And on January 17, we approved the demand for sale of our common shares. Currently, as a next step to become a wholly owned subsidiary, we entered the procedure to sell our common shares. On Tokyo Stock Exchange, February 26 will be our last trading day. And on February 27, our stock will be delisted. On March 2, we are scheduled to become MCHC's wholly owned subsidiary.

That is all from me. Thank you for your attention.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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We will now take questions.

First question is from Mr. Hashiguchi of Daiwa Securities.

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Kazuaki Hashiguchi, Daiwa Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - Research Analyst [2]

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Hashiguchi from Daiwa Securities. I have several questions. First is on your R&D expenses. Progress relative to the full year forecast appears rather low. What are the reasons for that? And you said that you expect the actual full year R&D expenses to be in line with the guidance. So what are the reasons for the concentrated spending in the fourth quarter?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [3]

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Main differences from the original budget include, first, NeuroDerm-related R&D expenses. Phase III study started in August, which was several months behind the original schedule. And second is in relation to Medicago. Its development expenses are slightly lower than the original schedule. And in Japan, we are adjusting the start of different development projects, changing and shifting the order which has resulted in some differences from the original budget. The remaining amount is rather substantial, and during the January-March quarter, the fourth quarter, we will be spending quite a bit. But of course, not all. So we do expect some unspent portion to remain.

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Kazuaki Hashiguchi, Daiwa Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - Research Analyst [4]

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I see. My next question is on RADICAVA. Can you describe the changes in the number of new patients in the U.S., a monthly breakdown? Earlier, you gave us the total number. So I couldn't tell if the trend bottomed out or not. So can you give us the figure on a monthly basis?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [5]

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First, the number of new patients on a monthly basis. Starting with October, 120 in October, 80 in November and 70 in December. And in terms of the number of existing patients on continuous administration, 1,800 in October, 1,840 in November, and 1,810 in December.

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Kazuaki Hashiguchi, Daiwa Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - Research Analyst [6]

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I see. So I take it that there are no major declining trend. True with some ups and downs on a monthly basis, but it is more or less stable. Am I correct?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [7]

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Yes. We believe around 1,800 existing patients on continuous basis or continuous administration has now become a baseline.

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Kazuaki Hashiguchi, Daiwa Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - Research Analyst [8]

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My last question is on MT-7117. The Phase III is to start in fiscal 2020 for filing in fiscal 2021. Now the time between Phase III and filing seems short. In terms of fiscal years, it's back to back. Previously, you indicated that there is a possibility of filing based on the POC study results. So are you going to wait until the results of Phase III to become available before you file? Or are you considering the possibility of filing before the results of Phase III become available based on POC data.

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Unidentified Company Representative, [9]

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This is Amano speaking. Current plan aiming for filing in fiscal 2021 and approval for fiscal 2022 is based on the assumption of conducting further studies. But details have yet to be worked out as we are consulting with FDA.

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Kazuaki Hashiguchi, Daiwa Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division - Research Analyst [10]

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So there is a possibility of filing, not waiting for the results from Phase III. Am I correct?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [11]

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If I could repeat myself, filing in fiscal 2021 would be based on Phase III results. But details have yet to be worked out based on the results of the consultation with FDA. Should it become necessary, we will update the plan.

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Operator [12]

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Next is Mr. Wakao from MUFG.

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Seiji Wakao, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd., Research Division - Senior Analyst [13]

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This is Wakao from MUFG, Morgan Stanley. My first question is on MT-8554 for hot flash. You said you plan to present the results to a scientific congress. Can you specify which scientific congress? And based on the POC study results, what kind of advantages do you expect over competing agents?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [14]

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This is Amano speaking. Which scientific congress, we cannot comment on that because we are still preparing for the presentation. And as for advantages over competing agents, we have yet to carry out further studies. And we'll have to wait for the results to come out. But generally speaking, for hormone preparations, certain criteria need to be met in terms of safety and tolerability. So in the new profiling of MT-8554, we hope to show some key characteristics through further studies.

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Seiji Wakao, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd., Research Division - Senior Analyst [15]

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I see. So I take it, there have been no concern found in terms of safety?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [16]

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Currently, as we prepare for the next round of studies, we do not find any issues. But in a larger-scale studies, we will clarify and confirm.

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Seiji Wakao, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd., Research Division - Senior Analyst [17]

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My next question is on INVOKANA and diabetic nephropathy, about the situation in the U.S. that is. Am I correct to assume that the approval for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy has improved situation for INVOKANA? I believe you will be filing for approval for diabetic nephropathy treatment and others in Japan. So I would like to know the impact of this indication. Any information from J&J that you can share with us?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [18]

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With regard to sales, I would like to refer the question to Johnson & Johnson. But this is the first SGLT2 inhibitor agent to acquire an indication for diabetic nephropathy in type 2 diabetes patients. So we are hoping that we can benefit from that.

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Seiji Wakao, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd., Research Division - Senior Analyst [19]

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Another question is about you becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of MCHC. I'm interested to know what, if any, specific changes can be expected in terms of collaborations? For instance, MCHC is now working on MUSE cell, and is there any plan for you to be responsible for a study following the ones that they have done or for MUSE cell business overseas?

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Eizo Tabaru, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation - Managing Executive Officer & Director [20]

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This is Tabaru speaking. One of the major challenges in realizing synergy is MUSE cell inner understanding. Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, our company and Life Science Institute, LSII, have launched a committee to start discussing this issue more specifically. But we have yet to reach the stage where any decisions or agreements have been made on MUSE cell. Everything will depend on the discussions that we're going to have going forward.

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Seiji Wakao, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., Ltd., Research Division - Senior Analyst [21]

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I see. In terms of time line, I understand that the data is scheduled to become available in Japan this year. Am I correct to assume that once the data is out, more specific directions can be decided?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [22]

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MCHC's position is to move MUSE cell project forward, and therefore, discussions will take place from the perspective of to what extent our functions can assist in that regard.

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Operator [23]

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The next question is from Mr. Sano from JPMorgan Securities.

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Tomohiko Sano, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Analyst [24]

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I would also like to ask about the collaborations with MCHC. There was a question on MUSE cell earlier. But what about the rest of MCHC's businesses, such as peripheral materials for regenerative medicine or other regenerative medicine businesses, or medical gas, for which, I guess, Taiyo Nippon Sanso will be a partner. Could you give us the update on the progress in your collaborations in those areas, such as establishing a joint committee as well as on future prospects, including what you think could happen?

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Eizo Tabaru, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation - Managing Executive Officer & Director [25]

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This is Tabaru speaking. Previously, we explained that a committee to discuss creation of synergies would be established. In fact, it was already launched at the end of last year and has met 2 or 3 times already. For specific items, the 4 companies are in the process of identifying them by determining what we can do in reality and launching something like a subcommittee composed of those responsible for each of the items. So my feeling is that it will take a bit longer for us to be in a position to share more specifics with you.

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Operator [26]

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The next question is from Mr. Muraoka from Morgan Stanley.

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Shinichiro Muraoka, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Analyst [27]

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Muraoka from Morgan Stanley. I have a question on MT-8554 POC study. Did you find all 3 doses equally promising? Or do you think you should pick only one dose? You may have commented on this previously, but I do not recall exactly. So could you enlighten me again?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [28]

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This is Amano speaking. We are planning to publish the result of our clinical studies soon in a scientific congress. So we'd like to refrain from commenting on the results today.

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Shinichiro Muraoka, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Analyst [29]

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Is it your position that you cannot comment on this, including whether a Phase III study will be concluded -- conducted with a single dose as I did not ask about the results of the study?

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Unidentified Company Representative, [30]

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Correct. In particular, the design of the Phase III study is now under consultation with FDA. Therefore, I'm afraid we should refrain from commenting on the design.

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Shinichiro Muraoka, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - Research Analyst [31]

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I see. Another question is about collaborations with MCHC in MUSE cell. If my memory serves me right, there are 4 indications targeted of which one is filed for approval in fiscal 2020, and more is scheduled in fiscal 2021. I myself find it not so appropriate to ask for your comment on this. But objectively speaking, given a subtle change in PMDA's attitude toward regenerative medicine more recently, it seems a bit aggressive to aim for filing in fiscal 2020 or 2021, but do you think it can be done if you end up collaborating with them?

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Eizo Tabaru, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation - Managing Executive Officer & Director [32]

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Tabaru speaking again. As for the progress in clinical trials, it is LSII that is taking the lead, and therefore, it is impossible for our company to make any specific comments. In terms of synergy, in seeking commercialization in the future to what extent we can co-work with them is what we started to discuss.

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Operator [33]

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There's still some time left. But since there are no more questions, we would like to conclude the question-and-answer session.