Japan, October 21, 2005 - Astellas Pharma Inc. (Head Office: Tokyo, President & CEO: Toichi Takenaka, hereafter referred as "Astellas") today announced that the fast-disintegrating tablet technology "WOWTAB-DRY" of Astellas was selected as recipient of the Invention Encouragement Prize in the FY2005 Kanto Local Commendation for Invention sponsored by the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation (JIII).

The fast-disintegrating tablet is a new type dosage form that are easy to ingest because they dissolve easily and quickly in the oral cavity. Launched by Astellas in 1997, "Gaster OD Tablet" was the Japan's first tablet of this type. However, the edge of that tablet often chipped off due to weak physical strength. Astellas continued research of fast-disintegrating tablet technology and completed the new formulation technology "WOWTAB-DRY," which gives sufficient strength to tablets in addition to dispersibility in the oral cavity. In order to meet various needs of patients, Astellas developed and launched "Gaster D Tablet" using this technology in 2000 and Harnal D Tablet, which quickly disintegrates in the oral cavity and gradually releases the active ingredient, in June this year.

The JIII's Local Commendation for Invention has, since 1921, been held for the purpose of promoting local industry by commending researchers, engineers, etc. who have obtained distinguished results and accomplished inventions full of creativity. The whole country is divided into eight blocks of Hokkaido, Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu with the Commendation in each block, those who have accomplished excellent inventions, those who have made great efforts to work such inventions and those who have contributed to the guidance and promotion of invention, etc. have been commended for their achievements.

The Invention Encouragement Prize in the FY2005 Kanto Local Commendation for Invention was awarded to commend the completion of the highly practical formulation technology in recognition of the fact that the "WOWTAB-DRY" technology is useful for manufacturing a completely new type of tablets (fast-disintegrating tablets), that meet unmet needs of patients who need safer and easier-to-ingest drugs, and that make it possible for medical institutions to use automatic drug dispensers because of the increased tablet strength. The commendation ceremony will be held at Wel-City Maebashi in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture.

Astellas strives to develop more innovative, useful drugs in order to make greater contribution to patients around the world.

* WOWTAB-DRY: WithOut Water Tablet-Dry