CPhI Japan: Internationalisation reaches new heights


Innovation in the country, driven by structural and and regulatory changes, has promoted both inbound and outbound collaboration

CPhI Japan: Internationalisation reaches new heights

CPhI Japan closes in Tokyo as a new wave of innovation is rising across the country, driven by structural and regulatory changes. The two-day event that ended on 20 March brough up themes on removing long-list products and the increased use of generics has seen capital re-directed into R&D.

The Japanese-based biopharmaceutical company, Takeda-Shire, raises its profile to become the world’s second-largest pipeline of drug targets, following the merger of Japanese Takeda and Irish Shire.

A changing regulatory landscape

In an exciting session at the event, Ian Haydock, Editor-In-Chief of Asia Pacific Informa Intelligence, highlighted how Japan has taken a lead in providing a supportive regulatory environment for orphan indications through its AMED programme. Additionally, Japan is also 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.


The merger of Takeda-Shire highlights the increased internalisation in the market, but 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. Quats act as a preservative or active ingredient in a diverse range of pharmaceuticals applications.

Commenting on the event, Laura Murina, Brand Manager of CPhI Japan, said: “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.”

Crucially, this internationalisation is being observed both ways, inbound and outbound, as highlighted on the exhibition floor. In total, Japan’s largest pharma trade event played host to almost 20,000 pharma professionals alongside 571 exhibitors from 29 countries, up from 450 just three-years ago.

Pharmaceutical bodies

Beyond the exhibition, thousands of pharma professionals attended the CPhI Japan Conference.

The keynote insights were given 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 harmonisation 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 approach 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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CPhI Japan will return to the Big Sight Exhibition Centre, Tokyo, Japan 16 - 18 March 2020.