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 6 Breaking into the Top 20 Worldwide 1987–2001

Newly appointed Chairman of the Board Yuji Naito presents two symbolic batons to newly appointed President Haruo Naito in June 10, 1988. The first baton is inscribed with Eisai's performance figures from the previous fiscal year, while the other is left blank for Haruo to inscribe the figures for Eisai's best performance under his tenure and pass on to the next president when he retires.

Eisai sets out a new corporate objective:a global, R&D-based drug maker for the 21st century.

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.

Eisai set out a clear corporate objective for the company as a global, R&D-based pharmaceutical company for the 21st century, focusing on outshining the competition in its ability to develop new products as it worked to enter overseas markets, its marketing prowess to maintain a solid presence in the Japanese market, and the solidarity of its financial position to survive industry-wide restructuring. In order to achieve this, Eisai mapped out the 15 years leading up to 2001, which would be divided into three periods, and steps would be taken to develop the company into a global, R&D-based pharmaceutical company during these years. This plan, the "First Five-Year Strategic Plan," set the goal of breaking into the ranks of the world's top 20 pharmaceutical companies by 2001 and called for specific initiatives to be taken over three distinct periods. The first period would be focused on as an "era of domestic operations," the second as the company's "era of globalization," and the third, an "era of soaring growth."


The inception of the Company's corporate philosophy, hhc,a central pillar for all our corporate activities Group-wide

Eisai believes that in the realization of hhc, it is important that each and every employee empathizes with the patients and thinks from their perspective to perceive the thoughts and concerns patients may have that might not necessarily be easy to express in words. The Group enables its employees to do so through activities (hhc activities) such as in-field training at nursing homes and improving the benefits of all patients and community members—the main stakeholders of the pharmaceutical industry. These activities are being carried out in each country where Eisai operates and by each department with the Eisai Group. Since 1996, this series of initiatives, which first began with 72 projects, has implemented over 500 diverse projects that continue to spread Eisai's founding philosophy of hhc worldwide.

Go to What is hhc?

Eisai focuses on transforming its corporate image, and challenges employees to adopt new mindsets and attitudes under a new concept—human health care (hhc).

It was clear to the newly appointed President Haruo Naito that times were changing, the social climate was shifting, and that these changes were having an effect on people's perspectives toward work and life. He began challenging staff to adopt new mindsets and attitudes as soon as he began his tenure. Then, in 1989, with Eisai recognizing that patients, their families and the general public should be the most important stakeholders in medical care and for pharmaceutical companies, the company announced the concept of "Eisai Innovation." This advocated taking pride in achieving business through improving the benefits of these stakeholders and challenged each individual employee to change the way they looked at their jobs, their lives and the world with the message "The world is changing. Let us change along with it." The spirit of this new concept was summarized as human health care (hhc) and incorporated into the company's Corporate Mission in 1992. At the time, with Eisai just beginning to expand into overseas markets, this succinct corporate philosophy of hhc also served as a common, core value that was universally understood and shared by employees throughout the Eisai Group. hhc continues to be a living part of Eisai's corporate DNA.

Eisai London Research Laboratories opening ceremony in 1993 attended by the United Kingdom's Princess Royal, Princess Anne

Eisai establishes a three-hub R&D network in Japan, the U.S. and Europe,and in doing so takes a powerful next step onto the global stage.

At the time, the main method for a domestic pharmaceutical company to strategically expand overseas was to license out its products to drug makers abroad. Eisai was determined to handle all processes regarding its products on its own, from research, which serves as the fountainhead from which all other product phases flow, through to manufacturing. Aiming for the realization of its "global R&D pharmaceutical company" vision, Eisai's establishment of R&D labs, manufacturing plants and marketing offices in the United States and Europe also became major objectives.

The first step was the establishment of two overseas research labs with the aim of creating innovative new drugs based on approaches and cutting-edge ideas that could be radically different from those used or conceived in Japan. The first overseas research laboratory, the Research Institute of Boston, was established in 1987. Later, in October 1989, the same month that Japan welcomed in its present emperor, a new research wing in the Bostonian suburb of Andover was also opened. Boston is the United States' largest biotechnology research cluster, and the region possesses representative U.S. universities such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as well as top-class hospitals. In such a prestigious environment, there were high hopes on Eisai's part that independent research carried out in this setting would prove fruitful for the Boston Research Institute. In 1990, the following year, Eisai Research Laboratories Ltd. was established on the campus of University College London, one of the best universities in the United Kingdom. Together with the Tsukuba Research Laboratories established in Japan in 1982, a three-hub R&D network spanning Japan, the United States and Europe was now established.

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

Overseas expansion accelerates due to two innovative drugs, Aricept and Pariet.In 2001, the Company finally enters the top 20 in pharma worldwide.

The 1990s were a period that welcomed the market entry of successful new drugs that were created at the Tsukuba Research Laboratories. Two success stories in particular were the anti-Alzheimer's agent Aricept and proton-pump prohibitor Pariet (AcipHex in the United States). These new drugs went on to expand into the global market through the combination of a forward-thinking, dedicated production and logistics system and a global sales network.

Aricept was launched in 1997 in the United States. At the time, no existing drug therapies were available for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease; the marketing activities carried out to raise awareness of the disease and educate patients were a huge success. One part of this success was a joint initiative Eisai had with its co-promotion partner, Pfizer Inc. What made both companies' cooperation so strong was their common vision of striving to bring about innovative, high-quality healthcare products and services as their respective missions to contribute to people's health and wellbeing. Eisai's hhc philosophy resonated with people around the world and helped to accelerate the company's expansion into the global market.

Pariet (AcipHex) was launched in 1997 in Japan, after which sales expanded under a co-promotion with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in Europe and the United States. By 2001, the final fiscal year of Eisai's First Five-Year Strategic Plan, Pariet had grown to become a globally recognized product. Adding to this, according to the global pharmaceutical company ranking IMS, Eisai had now also finally achieved its target of entering the top 20 pharmaceutical companies worldwide.