News & Press

Integrated Peptide Manufacturing at CPhI Japan

Edition 2 / May 2019
Article > CPhI Japan 2019 & Recent Trends in the Japanese Pharma Market

Edition 2 / May 2019

Dr. Frieder Mitzel, Associate Director, Sales & Key Account Management, CordenPharma International, headshot

Dr. Frieder Mitzel,

Associate Director, Sales & Key Account Management,
CordenPharma International

CPhI Japan 2019 & Recent Trends in the Japanese Pharma Market

CPhI Japan 2019’s venue Tokyo Big Sight by night – photo ©cc heiwa4126

CPhI Japan 2019’s venue Tokyo Big Sight by night – photo ©cc heiwa4126

Having been regular exhibitors for over eight years, I once again represented CordenPharma at CPhI Japan 2019 in Tokyo, along with our Japanese partner Pyxchemi. The event took place earlier than usual from March 18-20, which gave all the visitors anticipated hopes of glimpsing the famous Japanese cherry tree blossoms. Despite it being slightly too early for blooming, the high quality and attractive setting of CPhI Japan drew nearly 20K visitors and 571 exhibitors from 29 countries, generating many meetings with new and existing customers in Japan (and other Asian countries), and sparking an exciting exchange of business opportunities, know-how and challenges to be addressed.

Mr. Satoru Nakayama, Vice President of Pyxchemi, delivered our showcase presentation in Japanese on The Benefits of Fully-Integrated Peptide Drug Substance & Drug Product Manufacturing to an engaged crowd of visitors, which fostered lively discussion and informed the audience about the significant value that CordenPharma’s unique Integrated Supply services brings to our customers.

CordenPharma has been committed to the Japanese market for many years, largely due to the fact that it remains the second largest, and one of the most innovative, pharmaceutical markets worldwide.1 The Japanese pharmaceutical market is comprised of the same elements as other developed markets: an aging population requiring more and more innovative medicines and a government that tries to better control healthcare costs by promoting generics. Yet it remains an exceptionally attractive market because of its high-income population.

CPhI Japan 2019’s Trend Report ranking the pharma innovation of Japan in the global marketplace

CPhI Japan 2019’s Trend Report ranks the pharma innovation of Japan in the global marketplace.

While the Japanese pharma market is often perceived as difficult for foreign companies, we are now seeing a clear trend towards internationalization. This is evidenced on one hand by the increasing percentage of overseas sales which have now reached 49% for the top 14 Japanese publicly branded pharma companies in 2017. 1 But we see this trend one the other hand for the supply chains of Japanese pharma companies, which are becoming more open to overseas manufacturing.

One company of particular note is Takeda, whom have strategically transformed from a traditional to very global Japanese company in recent years, including being one of the few Japanese companies to hire a foreign CEO after its long 230+ year history. But similar trends can be seen with other Japanese pharma companies.

Mr. Satoru Nakayama of Pyxchemi & Dr. Frieder Mitzel of CordenPharma in CordenPharma’s booth at CPhI Japan 2019

Mr. Satoru Nakayama of Pyxchemi and Dr. Frieder Mitzel of CordenPharma attend CPhI Japan 2019.

Despite this increasing globalization, we still believe that in order to be successful in the Japanese pharma market it is necessary to work with a local representative. CordenPharma has successfully partnered over the last several years exclusively with Pyxchemi, a company with a very deep understanding of the Japanese CDMO market. At CPhI Japan 2019 I interviewed Vice President Mr. Satoru Nakayama on recent pharma trends in the Japanese market:

FM: There is a global tendency of Pharmaceutical companies relying more and more on external manufacturing. Is this noticeable for Japan too?

SN: Yes, we can see the same trend in Japanese Pharmaceutical companies, especially for new drug innovators. For example, Sumitomo-Dainippon Pharma closed one drug product manufacturing facility in March 2019. High labor cost, significant drop in production after patent expiry and increasing investment to remain compliant with cGMP requirements are often the main reasons.

FM: Do you see a trend that Japanese companies are becoming more open to outsourcing abroad?

SN: Yes, I think so, especially the Japanese top 10 pharma companies, because they now do more drug development and global marketing than ever before.

FM: What do you think are the underlying reasons for Japanese companies becoming more open to globalized supply chains and working with foreign CDMOs?

SN: I believe the main reasons are:

  1. They need some special technical capabilities which are limited or often completely unavailable in Japanese CDMOs.
  2. Foreign CDMOs have more experience in launching commercial drugs in other countries, especially in the EU & USA, than Japanese companies typically do.

FM: Are there any specific requirements for CDMOs to be successful in Japan?

SN: Besides technical capability and the regulatory status of CDMOs, reliable partnership with customers is key because Japanese companies are still conservative. It cannot be built in a short time. I believe long term presence with continuous follow-up and straightforward exchange is important.

FM: What do you think are the concrete benefits CordenPharma brings to Japanese pharma customers?

SN: I think CordenPharma has unique and strong technical expertise, particularly in manufacturing Drug Substance & Drug Product under their Peptides and Highly Potent & Oncology Platforms, in which areas local Japanese competitors are limited. Furthermore, solid regulatory and commercial launch experience for major global markets are attractive for Japanese pharma companies. I believe CordenPharma is very capable in delivering the competent CMC support they expect for clinical development and launch in foreign countries.

1 CPhI Japan 2019 Trend Report

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest thought leadership articles and news from CordenPharma.