DAIICHI SANKYO – never heard about it? A Japanese pharmaceutical group with strong roots in the Bavarian state capital?
In fact, DAIICHI SANKYO is still in the process of building a reputation among residents. Nevertheless it might be a good idea to have a look at the company already now. Its turnover of 5.9 billion euros and its global workforce of nearly 29,000 place it among the major pharmaceutical players worldwide. The international headquarters of the Japanese drug manufacturer are in Tokyo, while German and European headquarters are based in Munich-Obersendling. From here, Reinhard Bauer, head of European operations, manages the company’s activities in twelve countries together with 314 employees.
Obersendling is also the place where Japanese activities in Bavaria originated. Here, at the far end of Zielstattstraße street, the painkilling Mobilat cream used to be produced by Luitpoldwerke. In 1990, Sankyo took over the long-established German company, including a plant in Pfaffenhofen, 60 kilometres north of Munich. This pharmaceutical plant has by now become one of the most important locations worldwide of the group that was formed in 2005 through a merger of Daiichi and Sankyo. Its almost 400 employees produce round about two billion tablets annually for over 50 national markets, meeting high standards in cleanliness. Over the next few years, production capacity is to be doubled to four billion tablets annually.
Just as the formerly independent companies of the group, today’s DAIICHI SANKYO dedicates itself to the development of highly innovative medicines. People who suffer from high blood pressure or osteoporosis or had a heart attack often rely on drugs from the Japanese company, which have an excellent reputation among doctors. DAIICHI SANKYO researchers strive to develop medicines that are either considered the best in their respective class or even constitute a new class of active agents. For instance, Sankyo employees discovered adrenaline and the class of statins. Precision and a passion for medicines is what the Japanese company is committed to in Bavaria as well.
Consequently, the Munich-based and European affiliates are of crucial importance in the context of DAIICHI SANKYO’s global business activities. While European sales in the 2008/2009 fiscal year (as of 31 March) increased by over 23 per cent to 490 million euros, the management intents to double the revenue to one billion euros by 2011.
Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Great Britain are some of the company’s largest European markets. The fastest-growing market, however, is Turkey, where DAIICHI SANKYO established a subsidiary in 2008. The expansion is also reflected in the growing number of staff. In Europe, for example, the workforce increased by 37 per cent to 2,436 lately, and the company continues to grow.
At a global level, too, DAIICHI SANKYO has set itself ambitious targets, outlined in the “Vision 2015”. It states that by the middle of the coming decade, sales are to be increased to about ten billion euros. More than 60 per cent of sales are planned to be made outside Japan, with Europe playing an important part. Just to give you a comparison: Currently some 60 per cent of sales still come from the domestic Japanese market.
These growth targets are based on the confidence that not only existing products, such as the antihypertensive OLMETEC®, will continue to convince doctors and patients. With annual sales of nearly 1.5 billion euros, OLMETEC® is a real blockbuster. DAIICHI SANKYO also has high hopes in new medicines like EFIENT®. In clinical tests on 13,600 patients, the thrombosis inhibitor, which is marketed jointly with the US company Eli Lilly, has clearly proved its superiority over the standard therapy applied so far. At present, EFIENT® is successively launched in Europe.
Another firmly established newcomer is SEVIKAR®, a combination therapy for the treatment of high blood pressure. With SEVIKAR®, DAIICHI SANKYO has achieved a market share of 20 per cent in Germany alone within a short period of time.
The Japanese company does not rest on its laurels, though. The research pipeline is filled to the brim and in 2009 was awarded the title of “Best Cardiovascular Pipeline” by the renowned US magazine “R&D Directions”. In the past financial year alone, the group invested 1.28 billion euros, the equivalent of almost 22 per cent of sales, in the search and development of new agents – more than most competitors worldwide.
European operations CEO Bauer has high expectations, particularly for the factor Xa inhibitor Edoxaban, which is presently undergoing final phase III clinical trials. In the future, Edoxaban may turn out to be a highly effective life saving drug for 4.5 million Europeans suffering from atrial fibrillation.
In addition, DAIICHI SANKYO decided to enter the field of oncology. These activities are based on the biotech company U3 Pharma, which was taken over in 2008 and which is currently running clinical trials on several promising active agents. CEO Bauer shows optimism: “We are certainly not the first in cancer therapy. However, as with all our medicines, we aim to be among the best providers of an extensive portfolio of oncology products.”
Year of foundationSankyo: 1899
in Europe: 2.436
Key indications: cardiovascular diseases, haematology, diabetes, infections, cancer