Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada’s commitment to Canadians living with ALS

“[We’re] focused on areas that we believe will have the greatest impact for patients – both within and beyond medicine”

December 14, 2023

Since opening its doors in 2018, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada (MTP-CA) has been on a relentless mission to make a difference in the lives of Canadians impacted by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)—also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease—a fatal neurological disorder that causes progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain.i

A key milestone in the company’s commitment to Canadians living with ALS was the 2018 Health Canada approval of the first new ALS treatment option in almost 20 years.ii For Mike Cels, who was diagnosed with ALS the year before, it was a significant moment for himself, his wife Carmen, his two kids and his family and friends.

“For nearly 20 years, Canadians who live with ALS had only one treatment option available to them,” recalls Carmen. “We were fortunate to have had an additional treatment option for Mike in 2018. And now, today, new treatment advances and ongoing ALS research to slow the progression of ALS are providing more much-needed hope to the ALS community.”

In 2022, following a Priority Review by Health Canada, MTP-CA introduced an oral suspension version of its drug that is formulated with the challenges of people living with ALS in mind.

Breaking new ground in ALS research

Over the past five years, MTP-CA has invested heavily in research and development projects—including forward-thinking health solutions so that patients may access therapies earlier on, collaborations with partners to generate real-world evidence and one-of-a-kind solutions to help advance the clinical practices of healthcare professionals.

“We are honoured to have built close relationships with the ALS community as we worked to understand the unique unmet needs of Canadians impacted by the disease,” said Andy Zylak, president, MTP-CA. “Today, we are focused on areas that we believe will have the greatest impact for patients—both within and beyond medicine.”

One of these areas is collecting real-world data on the treatment of ALS. The company recently announced its first-ever collaboration with the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry (CNDR) at the University of Calgary to study its treatment, in hopes of uncovering new insights that will benefit people living with ALS.iii

Improving early detection of ALS

One of the greatest challenges in ALS is the long and complicated process of diagnosis. For some, it can take up to two years to receive a diagnosis of ALS in Canada, and the majority of people living with ALS die within three years of first symptom onset.iv

“We know that people with ALS do not have the luxury of time,” said Dung Pham, Medical Affairs Director, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Canada. “We are passionate about improving the time to diagnosis to ensure that all patients can access multidisciplinary care, approved medications and clinical trials that can potentially improve survival and enhance their quality of life.”

The company, supporting leading Canadian neurologists, recently announced its support of a ground-breaking artificial intelligence program, utilizing technology* developed by Ensho Health to analyze de-identified electronic medical records  and identify individuals for which follow-up investigations for ALS or referral to a specialty centre may be clinically appropriate.v

“We are committed to tackling these challenges on behalf of the ALS community,” added Zylak. “And we will continue to fight alongside them, pursuing scientific innovation, reducing the time to diagnosis and improving access to new treatment options, now and into the future.”

* The MNd-5 algorithm is a process for converting input parameters to a likelihood estimate. It is deployed at the Toronto, Canada data lab of Ensho Health through the MNd-5 CDL Module ("CDL Module"). The CDL Module is comprised of the MNd-5 Likelihood Estimator ("Likelihood Estimator") which encodes it in software and a graphical user interface called the MNd-5 Controller ("Controller"). The CDL Module was developed to the ISO 13485:2016 standard for medical devices in compliance with Ensho’s Quality Management System. The MNd-5 CDL Module is registered as medical device software in Canada under the Medical Device Establishment License of Ensho Health (license 16208). The software that encodes the MNd-5 algorithm and applies it to EHR data is Class I medical device software in Canada developed and deployed under the Medical Device Establishment License of Ensho Health.

i Cedars Sinai Health Library. What is ALS? Available at : Accessed on October 11, 2023

ii Health Canada Drug Database. Available at:  Accessed on September 28, 2023.

iii Abrahao, A, Vyas, M, Parks, A, Hodgkinson, V, et al. Abstract: Real-World Survival Effectiveness of Edaravone in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Propensity Score Weighted, Registry-Based, Canada-Wide Cohort Study. Presented at the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation’s Congress 2023.

iv Shoesmith C, Abrahao A, Benstead T, et al. Canadian best practice recommendations for the management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. CMAJ 2020;192:E1453-68.

v Process for Progress in ALS: An EMR-based practice enhancement initiative. Available at:  Accessed on September 19, 2023.