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Challenge to BIO

Building a Strong Management Foundation with Biotechnology

In the first half of the 1980s, Chugai made a policy shift from chemical compounds to the use of biotechnologies in its drug discovery. Its initial successful launches following this shift were Epogin® (1990) and Neutrogin® (1991). This experience would later lead to work on therapeutic antibodies, but without the shift in orientation toward biopharmaceuticals in the 1980s, Chugai might not be what it is today.

POINT1April 1990

Creation of Epogin®, Chugai’s First Biopharmaceutical

At a time when Japan lacked the technology and know-how to create biopharmaceuticals, Chugai made a capital investment in US venture Genetics Institute Inc. in 1983 and started joint research on erythropoietin (EPO) formulations. This decision resulted in the creation of Epogin® five and a half years later. The successful development of this product in such a short time attests to Chugai’s technological and organizational strengths.

POINT2December 1991

Creation of Neutrogin®, Chugai’s Second Biopharmaceutical

Development of Neutrogin® began in 1974 under an industry-academia framework. After becoming the first in the world to successfully purify recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in 1984, Chugai established technology for mass production using genetic engineering. The company started clinical trials in 1987 and launched Neutrogin® as its second biopharmaceutical four years later. It took 17 years from the start of research to the launch, but the product signaled a new stage in Japan’s biopharmaceutical development, which had been lagging behind Europe and North America.

POINT3January 1993

Four Corporate Principles and a Vision for the 21st Century

The three corporate principles announced by former president Kimio Uyeno in his New Year’s address for 1967 have evolved with the times. In 1993, then-president Osamu Nagayama stressed the importance of globalization by adding another principle, “pursuit of internationality,” thus establishing a set of four corporate principles. With this new philosophy and the announcement of Chugai’s vision for the 21st century, the company has aimed to transform itself into a creator of value with the aim of being a global company for the benefit of the medical community and human health around the world.

POINT4September 1987

Thinking Differently Leads to an Anticancer Agent

In 1975, a compound with anticancer activity was synthesized at Roche’s laboratory in Nutley, New Jersey, USA, but commercial success in the form of an injection was considered to be difficult. With this in mind, the Nippon Roche Research Center began work on developing an oral formulation. In September 1987, Nippon Roche launched Furtulon®, a oral anticancer agent, which reached ¥10 billion in annual sales two and a half years later. At a time when injections accounted for the majority of anticancer agents, thinking differently with the development of an oral formulation led to success.

Chugai’s Key figures「Number of Biopharmaceutical Products」
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