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Shionogi: an expanding commercial focus

PMLiVE’s new emerging companies series starts with a Japanese firm that’s increasing its European footprint

ShionogiPerhaps best known for being the company that discovered the blockbuster statin Crestor (rosuvostatin), Shionogi has largely restricted its global focus to R&D.

But now a burgeoning pipeline has prompted the Japanese firm to expand its commercial outlook, previously centred on its domestic market, to Europe, where it hopes to work more closely with the region's thriving science base.

Shionogi's recently opened European headquarters are located in London and led by CEO for Europe Takashi Takenoshita who was previously a partner in McKinsey & Co's healthcare practice.

“As we started to have more compounds we thought it would be really important to own the whole development process, so that our products are prepared in the best possible manner for our patients in each part of the world,” Takenoshita explained.

Working close to the science base
Another key driver for the decision to establish its European HQ was Shionogi's desire to place itself closer to the region's science base.

Last year the company launched the Shionogi Science Programme, a research alliance with the universities in the UK. The 2012 programme will be underway shortly, expanded to include Australia, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, UK and Japan.

At the same time the company will start establishing research operations to handle pre-clinical work all the way to phase III and regulatory submissions.

Shionogi doesn't yet market its own products in Europe. Outside Japan Crestor is sold by AstraZeneca and, praising Shionogi's partner, Takenoshita said his company's new European organisation would respect existing arrangements with licences.

But over the coming years Shionogi's ambition is to begin playing a more direct role when it comes to commercialising its newer drugs, something Takenoshita says will start coming to fruition within the next three years.

The candidate the company is most excited about is the nce-daily HIV integrase inhibitor dolutegravir, which Shionogi is co-developing with the Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline's ViiV Healthcare venture. In late-stage trials it recently beat Gilead's Atripla in a head-to-head study. “We are very much excited about the potential that this product has for the patients with HIV,” Takenoshita said.


1878  Founded by Gisaburo Shiono, Sr as the drug wholesaler Shiono Shoten in Osaka, Japan
1943  Company name changed to Shionogi & Co, Ltd
1991  Discovers Crestor (rosuvastin)
1992  Acquires Lilly's capsule business
1998  Crestor licensed to AstraZeneca
2001  Establishes Shionogi-GlaxoSmithKline joint venture (now Shionogi-ViiV Healthcare)
2012  Launches European headquarters in London, UK

Shionogi's European team
During his time with McKinsey Takenoshita served the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and several governments. “I thought there would be an opportunity to achieve a closer collaboration between the public sector and the private players such as pharmaceutical companies,” he said. “So I was excited about the opportunity to set up a business model from scratch.”

The company plans to expand quickly the number of employees in London and has already made several key appointments, including Dr Marco Renoldi, Dr Suhail Nurbhai, Dr Mark Sampson, Nina Strenitz and Joe Gaugas.

Dr Renoldi joins Shionogi as chief commercial officer, Europe from Amgen, where he was executive director of oncology overseeing the US biotech's oncology business outside the US.

Shionogi has appointed Dr Nurbhai as head of development for Europe. He was most recently vice president and head of clinical science for Takeda Global R&D, Europe.

Shionogi has also appointed former senior director of internal medical affairs at Gilead Dr Sampson as its new head of medical affairs and Joe Gaugas joins as head of regulatory affairs from Pfizer, where he spent more than 16 years in research and development. In addition, the firm has appointed Nina Strenitz from McKinsey's EMEA healthcare practice to be its head of market access.

Preparing for market and building healthcare ties
One of the key tasks for this team as it helps bring new products to market will be to develop ties with the medical and the scientific community and make Shionogi an integral part of the health landscape, in areas such as anti-infectives and pain management.

“We'd like to be working together with the top scientists and clinicians and viewed as one of the key companies in this space,” Takenoshita concludes.

For more information contact:
Nicola Hudson at Shionogi Limited
T: +44 (0)20 3609 8660

8th October 2012

8th October 2012

From: Research, Sales, Marketing



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