IN PROFILE: 2011 Top 10 Players in the Japanese Pharmaceutical Market

Pharma IQ

Pharma IQ provides you with a quick update of the activities of the Top 10 players in the Japanese pharmaceutical market in 2011. Figures according to Forbes The World Biggest Companies.

1. Takeda Pharmaceutical Sales of $15.7 billion
CEO Yasuchika Hasegawa

Takeda has been the top contributor to M&A activity in Japan this year, firmly cementing its place at the top of the food chain and expanding its presence outside of the domestic and US markets. 

Most recently, Takeda acquired Swiss company Nycomed, which brought with it "a significant business infrastructure in Europe and high-growth emerging markets". 

The €9.6 billion deal is also expected to enhance the commercialisation and regulatory abilities of Takeda, with challenge now to ensure a smooth integration as Takeda becomes an increasingly global pharmaceutical company. 

2. Astellas Pharma Sales of $10.4 billion
CEO Yoshihiko Hatanaka

Astellas Pharma has been keen to highlight its growing oncology pipeline in recent months, with the continuation of its partnership with Seattle Generics, through its subsidiary Agensys, to create a second antibody drug conjugate for targeting solid tumours.

Its interest in novel protein pharmaceuticals were also enhanced with the purchase of all Maxygen's interests in Perseid Therapeutics, making a wholly owned subsidiary of Astellas. The company sees the purchase as reinforcing its biologics platform and boosting its pipeline in the immunology field. 

3. Otsuka Holding Sales of $11.6 billion
CEO Tatsuo Higuchi

Cancer therapy Sprycel, a joint venture with Bristol Myers Squibb, has been bringing about success for Otsuka in recent months, following its approval for first-line treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia and a new treatment option for CML patients. 

Oncology is set to remain a top priority area for the company, with no fewer than 12 cancer therapies in the pipeline, while it has also been extending its global tuberculosis programme with the creation of Otsuka SA for its central operations. 

4. Daiichi Sankyo Sales of $10.2 billion
CEO Joji Nakayama

Much like Takeda, Daiichi Sankyo has been taking strides towards European expansion with the establishment of an oncology business unit on the continent, although it acknowledged challenges lie ahead in expanding its presence in the region. 

Daiichi said it plans to create a world-class oncology pipeline by 2015, having invested heavily in drug discovery and research companies in recent years. 

5. Eisai Sales of $8.6 billion
CEO Haruo Naito

Eisai is looking towards emerging markets for its expansion, marking its entry into Latin America earlier in the year with its subsidiary Eisai Participacoes, based in Sao Paulo, in Brazil, home to the tenth largest pharmaceutical market. 

The company is looking to establish a presence in each of the top 20 pharmaceutical markets in the coming years, while focussing on growth of its novel breast cancer drug Halaven and other oncology therapies. 

6. Medipal Holdings Sales of $27.2 billion
CEO Sadatake Kumakura

Medipal Holdings recently concluded a contract to increase its equity in Sinopharm Medicine Holding Beijing Huahong, as part of a partnership with Mitsubishi to expand its presence in China.

The company is also keen to focus on building a stable distribution environment as a key part of its vision for 2014.

7. Alfresa Holdings Sales of $22 billion
CEO Denroku Ishiguro

Internal changes have been taking place at Alfresa Holdings as the company looks to boost efficiency and capabilities within key areas, with the merger of subsidiaries Alfresa Corporation and Ando and SAFE Co.

The changes are intended to strengthen the sales structure in the Northern Kanto region, boost efficiency and competitiveness and improve information provisions. 

8. Suzuken Sales of $18.6 billion
CEO Hiroshi Ota

Suzuken is looking to the increase in the ethical pharmaceuticals market from the ageing population for growth within its business, following the continuing negative effect on the economy brought by the Japanese earthquake. 

The company said therapies to treat lifestyle-related disorders and anti-cancer drugs are targets, while it has experienced success with growth in sales of its stable Seibule Tablets for diabetes patients. 

9. Shionogi & Co Sales of $3 billion
CEO Isao Teshirogi

Academic collaboration and international expansion are key features of Shionogi's plan for growth, having recently revised downwards its earnings projections for the year.

The company plans to establish three regional footholds across the globe to further its clinical trial assets, while a Global Development Office is to also be created. Obesity/diabetes and viral infection are priority areas of research.

10. Toho Holdings Sales of $10.7 billion 
CEO Takaaki Matsutani

Toho Holdings saw its business affected by the Japanese earthquake. It saw an extraordinary losses of 708 million yen related to the disaster, which required it to successfully implement its back up plan to utilise distribution assets in the Tokyo region.

The company said it predicts difficult times ahead with difficult pricing negotiations, the slow economy affecting medical examinations and an extension of controls over medical fees.