The recent news on “Business wire” shows the appetite and cash richness of Japanese companies, who increase their global presence by buying up foreign promising companies. One example is Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd., who is in the process of acquiring Genzyme’s Diagnostic products business for $265 million in cash. For Sekisui it is important to gain access to the diagnostic product lines and technologies. With the goal to keep a winning team unchanged, Sekisui has agreed to offer employment the 575 employees (including senior management), and plans to maintain operations in all of the business’s current locations.
So why is this purchase such a big deal you might wonder. From a global perspective biotechnology in Japan is still in rather early stages. Sekisui’s deal will allow a critical step ahead with Genzyme’s Diagnostics business, which provides critical raw materials and enzymes, clinical chemistry reagents, rapid tests and infectious disease products to manufacturers, clinical laboratories, distributors and health care providers. In more simpler terms: The business is focused on the cardiovascular, diabetes, renal, and infectious disease areas, and is a leading provider of HDL and LDL cholesterol tests. The decision for Sekisui to gain access to the global diagnostics market did not come overnight, because both companies had worked together for more than 15 years. According to “Business wire” the business will be operated as part of Sekisui Medical Co., Ltd. (division of Sekisui Chemical), which is based in Tokyo. For sure it becomes now easier for Sekisui to expand its global presence, but I believe more important to increase the inflow of needed products into the Japanese market at the same time.
Although in the late 90s to the year 2000 the Japanese government made a commitment to develop biotechnology as a national strategy, this boom has burst in the meantime. For sure the previous goal to make the Japanese market an attractive environment where companies from all over the world can compete, engage in research, and produce and sell products, has become wishful thinking. With the example Sekisui I hope with the increased access to newer diagnostic technologies, the actual end-user – Japanese patients – can profit from it. In the past there had been several goals of the government to fast track the approval for new drugs and medical equipment, but it seems to me there is still a long way to go. For sure my hope and dream is that the medical support and availability of drugs is increased in Japan.
Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)