Global Cases

Integrated solution provider for pharmaceutical industry “From upstream to downstream”

Japan / U.S.A. / China

Global Based One-stop Shop for Pharmaceutical Industry

The pharmaceutical industry has evolved remarkably since the latter half of the 20th century, so much so that some people are calling the 21st century “the century of pharmaceuticals.” The development of new drugs and the sourcing of materials for drugs are now conducted beyond countries and pharmaceutical companies are operated in a global basis.

Engaging together with its subsidiaries in its pharmaceuticals business, Summit Pharmaceuticals International Corporation (SPI), Summit Pharmaceuticals Europe(SPE) and Summit Pharmaceuticals China(SPC), Sumitomo Corporation offers comprehensive support to players in both the upstream and downstream segments of the pharmaceutical industry. We not only support the R&D of but also supply materials for new drugs and generic drugs by taking advantage of its long and broad experience and unique global structure as a general trading company. Through these activities, Sumitomo Corporation broadly contributes to the improvement of people’s quality of life worldwide.

For the discovery and clinical trial stages, we do investments and lending in pharmaceutical ventures and provide agency services for research alliances and licenses. For later developmental and commercial stages, we select appropriate suppliers from manufacturers in Japan, Europe, India, China, Korea, etc. and provide materials and formulations to pharmaceutical companies that produce new drugs as well as generic drugs. We also help foreign manufacturers to apply for the registrations like Foreign Manufacturer Accreditation(FMA) and Master File(MF) in Japan. In addition, API Laboratory (Kawasaki City) has been established to ensure the supply of high-quality APIs conforming to specifications, by carrying out quality analysis by its own staffs.

Contribution to Drug Discovery

With the phenomenal development of life sciences research, the roles played by drug discovery instruments, bio-resource materials, and drug discovery technology have become increasingly important. SPI distributes several products and provides related services in drug discover area.

In the area of drug discovery instruments, SPI provides in vivo imaging instrument for non-invasive monitoring (that is not damaging to the living body) of the progress and healing process of diseases, contributing to the development of basic and drug discovery research in life science. SPI’s Support Center in Yokohama offers comprehensive customer support, including instrument demonstration, quality inspection, repair, maintenance, and consultation on instrument applications. SPI also holds the In Vivo Imaging Forum , in which leading scientists give presentations on the latest uses of the instruments for customers. Having been held 12 times, the forum is attracting increasing attention.

In the area of drug discovery support, SPI offers services that meet frontline needs, which include intermediating for new drug licenses and research alliances as well as providing bio-resource materials, such as cell lines and genetic material for research in Japan. Meanwhile, over the 30-plus years since it entered the distribution business of bio-resource materials, SPI has enhanced the lineups of gene vectors, cell lines with genetic mutations, iPS cell-related materials and so on. In recent years, SPI has also begun distribution of high-quality human tissue samples stored after removed by surgery to research together with information on the pre- and post-operation history of disease and treatment.

In Vivo Imaging Forum 2017

SPI has also launched new initiatives in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery, which is anticipated to enhance productivity in the process of drug discovery. Specifically, the company has been utilizing AI technology and data compiled by pharmaceutical companies to develop technologies for substantially reducing the costs and time required in the compound optimization stage. In order to extend comprehensive support for research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, SPI provides multifaceted services by collaborating with biotechnology companies and research institutions in and outside Japan. combining with human tissue samples, biomarker research and AI technology. As a member of the Sumitomo Corporation Group, SPI aims to support the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, with its series of integrated R&D support services.

Supporting the Penetration of Generic Drugs in Japan

The term “generic drug” is now in common. In fact, many people may have had the experience of being asked by their prescribing physician whether or not they would prefer a generic drug. So what are generic drugs? When patents for new drugs expire, drugs made of the same components and with the same efficacy are put on the market. These are called generic drugs. Their advantage is that they can be offered at lower prices because they do not entail development costs.

SPI supplies APIs to generic drug manufacturers. Taking advantages of the global network of the Sumitomo Corporation Group, SPI selects, from all over the world, suppliers of high-quality APIs that demonstrate strong price competitiveness. It then conducts specification setting and quality testing of these ingredients at its API Laboratory, which is equipped with cutting-edge analyzers. By ensuring a stable supply of competitive, quality-controlled APIs, SPI helps reduce the cost of generic drugs as well as achieve their stable supply.

The market share of generic drugs in volume accounted for around 65.8% of Japan’s pharmaceutical industry as of September, 2017. The Japanese government promotes the use of generic drugs with the ambitious goal of boosting their share to 80% until September 2020.

By supporting the popularization of generic drugs, the Sumitomo Corporation Group not only contributes to reducing the economic burden on individual patients but also helps control medical healthcare expenses in Japan as a whole.

June 2018


  • Japan
  • East Asia
  • The Americas
  • Chemical Electronics

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