Japanese R&D reinvigorated with international partnerships proliferating

26 Mar 2019

Generics consumption increasing, and the removal of long-list products is opening up funding towards true innovation.

CPhI Japan closes as a new wave of innovation is rising across the country, driven by structural and regulatory changes. A focus on removing long-list products, and the increased use of generics has seen capital re-directed into R&D – with Takeda-Shire now possessing the world’s second largest pipeline of drug targets.

Japanese R&D reinvigorated with international partnerships proliferating

In a ground-breaking session at the event, Ian Haydock, Editor-In-Chief, Asia Pacific Informa Intelligence, highlighted how Japan has taken a lead in providing a supporting regulatory environment for orphan indications through its AMED programme. In addition, Japan is simultaneously emerging as a particularly prominent ecosystem for cell and gene therapy innovators.

What is most significant about the trends highlighted at CPhI Japan is that a consensus seems to be emerging for the removal of long-listed products. Long promoted as an anti-innovation strategy, it is increasingly viewed as an approach that is helping redirect capital towards the most innovative targets.

Highlighting the increased internalization in the market, the event also saw a landmark announcement with Swiss listed DKSH partnering with Novo Nordisk to distribute the company’s Quats (quaternary ammonium compounds) in Japan – which act as preservatives or active ingredients in a diverse range of pharmaceuticals applications.

“More than in any past event, this year we saw how Japan is very much becoming a centre for international trade, not only for Japanese companies looking to expand overseas but also for international companies looking for both domestic and international partners to help further their strategies across the entire APAC region,” commented Laura Murina, Brand Manager CPhI Japan.

Crucially, this internationalization is being observed both ways – inbound and outbound – and is highlighted on the exhibition floor. In total, Japan’s largest pharma trade event (18-20 March 2019 at the Big Sight Exhibition Centre, Tokyo), played host to almost 20,000 pharma professionals alongside 571 exhibitors from 29 countries, up from 450 just 3 years ago. These included major suppliers of pharmaceutical ingredients, packaging, contract services, as well as machinery, technology, and new in 2019, digital and IT companies in the Pharma IT & Digital Expo.

Beyond the exhibition, thousands of pharma professionals attended the CPhI Japan Conference, with keynote insights from Dr Isao Teshirogi, President of The Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ & Association (IFPMA). The Japan Pharmaceutical Traders’ Association delivered the API International Procurement Forum 2019, which explored harmonization approaches and how to deliver greater international partnerships.

APIC (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Committee) provided an in-depth perspective for the Japanese market of the recent implementation of ICH Q3D in the EU and USA as a guideline for elemental impurities. The agreement discussed two approaches – the Drug Product and the Component Approach. In reality, however, the guidelines had a strong focus on the component approach moving forward.

Laura Murina added: “The success of the event strengthened the vital connections, partnerships and knowledge needed for the Japanese market to undergo structural changes necessary to deliver increased innovation. Raising the use of generics has provided opportunities for both domestic and international big pharma and manufacturers.”

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