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: Chapter 5 Global Investment, Global Infrastructure 1976–1986

Juvelux (1977)
Juvelux appealed to consumers as a trusted source of naturally derived vitamin E. The product's amber-colored capsules, matte gold cap and simple-yet-elegant packaging were designed to emphasize a sense of understated sophistication.

Leveraging its years of expertise in vitamin research,Eisai develops its long-selling product, Juvela.

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. Juvelux was an over-the-counter drug containing a naturally derived vitamin E preparation that could be easily absorbed by the body. It would go on to become a long-seller for the company, and continues to sell well even today, more than thirty years later.

Since the development of Juvela—Japan's first commercial vitamin E product—at the Sakuragaoka Laboratory, Eisai had created an impressive line of other over-the-counter vitamin E products as well, including Chocola Sahne, Juvelon and Juvela C. Juvelux and the microcirculation activator prescription drug Juvela Nicotinate were central products for Eisai that helped to establish the company in the eyes of consumers as a trusted brand for dependable, high-quality vitamin E products.

Tsukuba Research Laboratories, 1982

Large-scale sugar-coating equipment introduced at the Misato Plant
These helped to enhance Eisai's manufacturing capacity by enabling the sugar-coating of the company's Methycobal pills to increase to as many as 1.5 million pills per batch.

While continuing to lay down the groundwork for further global expansion,
Eisai takes its R&D and manufacturing capabilities to a world-class level.

The 1980s were a decade that saw Eisai establish further foundations to support its ambitions for global expansion. In 1981, as the first step of the company's business expansion into the United States, Eisai established a local subsidiary, Eisai U.S.A. Inc., in suburban Los Angeles and began marketing its automatic inspection machines (AIMs) and other inspection equipment used for pharmaceutical production as well as launching bulk sales of vitamin E.

Meanwhile, Eisai also opened major new domestic hubs one after the other over the next four years—the Misato Plant in Saitama, the Tsukuba Research Laboratories in Ibaraki, and Eisai Chemical Co., Ltd. (now Eisai's Kashima Plant), also in Ibaraki—to raise the company's production and R&D capabilities to be on par with global standards.

The Misato Plant was Eisai's new production facility for eastern Japan, just as the Kawashima Industrial Complex served as the company's western base. There large, pill sugar-coating machines were introduced, making it possible to sugar-coat as many as 1.5 million tablets at a time. The sight of automatic conveyor robots carrying these huge loads back and forth along wide, highly sanitized corridors gave the Misato Plant the look of a futuristic factory.

The Tsukuba Research Laboratories, located in east Japan's “Tsukuba Science City,” a planned city dedicated to science and R&D, is equipped with cutting-edge facilities aimed at new drug creation and carrying out research activities to world-class standards. In 1984, it was here that Eisai succeeded in the development of gastritis and gastric ulcer treatment Selbex, which was the first new drug to be created at the Tsukuba Research Laboratories.


The Product Manager (PM) system is introduced to ensure sustainable, long-term growth for the Company.

The Product Manager (PM) system may seem commonplace in the pharmaceutical industry today, but it may surprise you to know that Eisai had already introduced this system back in the 1960s. In Japan, it gathered attention as a unique system that could not be seen in other pharmaceutical companies at the time.

Toyoji Naito's own experiences had taught him the importance of having accurate and up-to-date medical information. He had since gathered extensive empirical data from actual medical practice and was acutely aware of the importance of putting this data to effective use. Today, PMs continue to carry out a crucial role by successfully introducing important new products to market, maximizing product value, and finding ways to link that experience into the creation of new products to follow. Furthermore, at scientific seminars arranged in cooperation with medical professionals, PMs not only provide information based on the latest academic findings but in doing so also help to contribute to advances in various diagnostic and therapeutic fields.

Products that helped to pave the way for large-scale facility investment

In the 1980s, the company began engaging in aggressive investment in large-scale facilities—it was the impressive sales of some of Eisai's major products that made this possible. In fiscal 1980, for example, overall sales for the company reached ¥100 billion for the first time. The major products that helped Eisai to achieve this were prescription drugs such as Juvela Nicotinate, the metabolic cardiotonic agent Neuquinon and the peripheral neuropathy treatment Methycobal, as well as over-the-counter drugs such as Juvelux. Today, these products continue to contribute in their respective fields to patients and communities in Asia.