Health Expenditure as a percentage of GDP in Japan.
Location of Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals plant in Ibaraki.
Location of the Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Ehime Bio facilities.

In 2000, Sumitomo Pharmaceutical Company completed the construction of a manufacturing plant in 2000 in Ibaraki city, near Osaka, Japan.

The company also began constructing another building for the manufacture of injectable pharmaceuticals at its established Ehime Bio plant (Niihama, Ehime Prefecture). The new building at Niihama was completed in 2002.

Merger and acquisition

In October 2005, Sumitomo Pharmaceutical merged with Dainippon Pharmaceuticals and to form new entity Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma. The new company was to focus on the production of Amlodin for hypertension and angina pectoris, gastroprokinetic agent Gasmotin, Prorenal for the improvement of peripheral circulation, and carbapenem antibiotic Meropen.

“The new building at Niihama was completed in 2002.”

The merged company also had a strong drug pipeline for the treatment of conditions in areas such as central nervous system (CNS) disorders, diabetes, allergies, inflammatory diseases, bone diseases, cancer and infectious diseases.

In addition to its own manufacturing abilities, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma was expected to make revenue through licensing out drugs for manufacture and marketing by other companies.

Pharmaceutical solid preparations

The two manufacturing facilities built in 2000 and 2002 were intended to enhance the manufacturing capacity of the company for the production of pharmaceutical solid preparations. The new facilities have helped the company to manufacture the volume required for the growing sales of Amlodim tablets and Sediel tablets.

Amlodim is an important drug for hypertension and angina pectoris, while Sedial is an anti-anxiety seratonin inhibitor.

At the time, the Japanese pharmaceutical industry was confronted with difficulties, including a drastic reform of the medical insurance system featuring an overall review of the drug tariffs system.

Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals’ management was determined to react to these difficulties by further strengthening its business foundations. Its strategy was to promote its strategic and efficient business operations to build up a corporate system for speedier discovery and development of new drugs, as well as for continuous acquisition of regulatory approval and release to the market.

The new facilities were also intended to fill the requirements for new products to be launched in the future and produce clinical trial quantities of drugs for evaluation.

Bio plant facility

The company started constructing the Ibaraki manufacturing facility in 1999 and the site was completed in July 2000. The Ehime Bio plant facility’s construction started in 2000. It was scheduled to be completed by 2001 but took until early 2002 to complete.

Ibraki plant

The Ibraki plant is a six-storey reinforced concrete building that covers an area of around 1,400m².

“The new facilities have helped the company to manufacture the volume required for the growing sales of Amlodim tablets and Sediel tablets.”

The first floor is set up independently for the manufacture of parenterals (injectable drugs), while the second and upper floors were designed for the manufacture of solid preparations. The total floor space is approximately 8,500m².

The manufacturing facilities for parenterals for clinical tests were designed to meet good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards, taking the future globalisation of research and development (R&D) activities into consideration.

Construction was also planned to meet the legal requirements of the international standard for excellent environmental management system, which led the company to acquire an ISO 14001 certificate.

The cost for the plant was in the range of $9.9m.

Ehime bio plant

The Ehime Bio Plant’s building was designed for the manufacture of new parenteral phamaceuticals and other sterile preparations, including Amlodim and Sediel.

The building is a two-storey, reinforced concrete structure with a building area of approximately 2,700m². The ground floor accommodates a manufacturing area and a combined office/warehouse space, while the first floor houses an air conditioning plant room.

The Ehime bio plant has a total floor area of approximately 18,890m².

Since it opened, the plant has concentrated on the manufacture of the intermediate solution of Sumitomo’s natural alpha-interferon product Sumiferon by a cell culture process. The aseptic techniques used in this process have been applied to the promising field of sterile preparations, and the company plans to make the Ehime Bio Plant the focus of its manufacturing efforts in this field.

The investment in the new building was approximately $18.1m.