Eisai: The First 70 Years - History of Eisai -

  • Corporate Chronology
  • The Story of Eisai
  • Eisai's Founder, Toyoji Naito
  • R&D Archives
  • History Gallery
  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7

The Story of Eisai: Contents Page From a small, suburban R&D lab with a team of 15 researchers, to a global enterprise ranking among the top 20 in pharma worldwide Here you'll find the story of Eisai, which has grown to become a global R&D-based pharmaceutical company by adapting and evolving over the more than 70 years since Toyoji Naito first established Sakuragaoka Laboratory Co, Ltd., Eisai's first incarnation, in 1936.

Chapter 1 Pre-Eisai Years 1911–1937

At a time when the domestic industry is mostly reliant on imported medicines,Toyoji helps to usher in a new phase in Japanese drug innovation.Later, he establishes the Sakuragaoka Lab to further realize this vision.

On August 15, 1889, in the village of Ito in a mountain gorge in Nyu, Fukui in central Japan, Kikuji Naito and his wife Fuji welcomed their sixth child and third son into the family. The child is Toyoji Naito—a boy who would one day found the Eisai Group. At age 15, Toyoji moved west to Osaka, where his career first began. His first job, however, was a far cry from the pharmaceutical industry—an apprenticeship at a mother-of-pearl button factory....

(left) Sakuragaoka Laboratory researchers pose for a group photo in 1940

Read more

Chapter 2 Nihon Eisai Established 1938–1954

Nihon Eisai established.By focusing on in-house R&D to create new medicines,the Company survives Japan's chaotic postwar period.

The Sakuragaoka Laboratory continued to create a string of hits starting with its 1938 launch of Japan's first commercial vitamin E product Juvela, which was developed from wheat germ oil extract. Juvela was closely followed by other successes such as the sanitary tampon Sampon and La Vende, a medicated talcum powder. At this point, the Sakuragaoka Laboratory research team had swelled to 74 members and outgrown its Tokyo facility....

(left) Eisai Nihon's dedicated team of researchers circa 1953

Read more

Chapter 3 Building a Solid Corporate Foundation 1955–1965

By constantly raising the bar with each completed corporate vision,Eisai establishes itself as a popular midsize pharmaceutical maker.

Eisai had overcome the chaotic postwar period and achieved rapid growth through the development of successful products such as its Chocola series, but the company's overall sales were still no more impressive than many newer pharmaceutical firms. In 1956, with the aim of making another dramatic leap forward, Eisai announced its "3-6 Plan," the company's first mid-term plan....

(left) The Eisai Logomark, which embodies the company's founding philosophy

Read more

Chapter 4 Eisai's Rapid Expansion1966–1975

Eisai expands into Asia as a first step toward internationalization.Meanwhile, it continues to grow domestically based on in-house R&D.

Eisai was now achieving unprecedented rapid growth. During this time, on May 14, 1966, Yuji Naito was entrusted with taking the helm as Eisai's new president. In the years that followed, Japan enjoyed a period of high economic development and internationalization and Eisai was able to establish a nationwide distribution network...

(left) From left: President Yuji Naito, Chairman Toyoji Naito, and Executive Vice President Tatsuo Naito

Read more

Chapter 5 Global Investment, Global Infrastructure 1976–1986

Bolstering development, production and sales infrastructure,the Eisai Group moves in to take on the world market.

In the 1970s, public awareness of health and safety was increasing in Japan and vitamin E attracted much attention as a vitamin for preventing lifestyle diseases and the effects of aging. It was against this backdrop that Eisai, confident in its established history as a vitamin E manufacturer, introduced Juvelux to the market in 1977....

(left) Tsukuba Research Laboratories, 1982

Read more

Chapter 6 Breaking into the Top 20 Worldwide 1987–2001

Eisai creates a new corporate vision befitting the 21st century:to become an R&D-based company fully dedicated to hhc.

In 1987, as the Japanese bubble economy inflated and internationalization became the latest buzzword, Eisai set its sights on breaking into the world's top 20 pharmaceutical companies. Under the leadership of Haruo Naito, who took over after his father Yuji Naito retired from the presidency, the company moved into its next period of long-term planning. At the time, Eisai ranked in 30th place among drug makers worldwide....

(left) Event celebrating the launch of Aricept held in Atlanta, the United States, in February 1997

Read more

Chapter 7 An Ambitious Leap Forward 2002–present

The Eisai Group continues to further its contributions to patients worldwide via innovative initiatives and improvements in global access to medicines.

Upon breaking into the world's top 20 pharmaceutical companies at the start of the 21st century, Eisai's global business made another dramatic leap forward propelled by stellar contributions from sales of Aricept and Pariet (AcipHex in the United States), with its overseas sales ratio in 2002 exceeding 50% for the first time. Eisai also expanded considerably in Europe during this period...

(left) Active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) research wing, Eisai Knowledge Centre, India

Read more