Growth after World War II
Due to damage from the war, Chugai’s headquarters and its Ikebukuro and Sakai plants burnt down and the Takada plant was half destroyed. However, founder Juzo Ueno took charge and the Takada plant resumed operation only four months after the end of the war. Nevertheless, even as rebuilding progressed, the company faced a crisis, with declining demand for Salsobrocanon and other products. Two new products helped to pull the company back from the brink: Guronsan® (1951) and Varsan® Tablet (1952).
Successful Industrial Synthesis of Glucuronic Acid
In 1951, when signs of the company’s downturn in business had become apparent, Chugai achieved a success in the industrial synthesis of glucuronic acid. Launched for medical use as Guronsan®, a detoxiﬁcation and liver function improving agent, it attracted attention as the result of world-leading research and was exported to 31 countries, mainly in Europe. Output worth approximately ¥7 million in its first fiscal year grew to more than ¥1 billion four years later in 1955, making a major contribution to Chugai’s growth.
Entry into the Environmental Hygienics Field
In 1952, Chugai developed and launched Japan’s first household-use transpiration insecticide made with lindane (γ-BHC). The initial product, Varsan® Tablet, was a tablet that was placed in a tin spoon and vaporized with the heat from a candle. Before long, a lightbulb replaced the candle, a ring replaced the spoon and the product became Varsan® Fragrance, an insecticidal fumigant. Demand for the insecticide, which began as a household-use product, expanded to office buildings, factories and forestry operations.
A World Leader as the Vitamin King
Starting with the total synthesis of vitamin C in 1933, Roche’s headquarters in Basel, Switzerland succeeded in the synthesis of various vitamins. Ultimately, the company became able to supply all 13 types of vitamins, earning it the nickname of “Vitamin King.” In the 1960s, Nippon Roche became a pioneer in Japan’s livestock feed market when it began adding vitamins to feed. Its business grew in the fields of food and livestock feed as well as pharmaceuticals.