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Japanese Healthcare Leader Looks to Global Markets

Article - April 15, 2024

KM Biologics boasts a decades-long track record of delivering world-class vaccines, blood-plasma products and newborn-screening services. Now a subsidiary of Meiji Holdings, the company is out to grow its international presence.

KM Biologics plays a key role in safeguarding the health of Japan’s population, developing cutting-edge vaccines and blood-plasma products, and screening newborn babies.

“Our company traces its origins to the mission of enhancing public health to bolster Japan's post-war reconstruction,” explains President Toshiaki Nagasato.

“In 1945, we began manufacturing a vaccine for the now eradicated smallpox disease, and we’ve since become one of only three companies worldwide supplying modern smallpox and monkeypox vaccines.”

Mr. Nagasato adds: “After the 2009 pandemic influenza outbreak, we were the first in the world to establish a domestic vaccine supply system – and today we boast the capability to supply the vaccine to around 57 million people.”

In the blood-plasma field, KM Biologics’ ground-breaking R&D efforts have yielded notable feats such as the development of AnactC, the globe’s first activated protein C product derived from human plasma.

Used to treat conditions caused by congenital protein C deficiency, AnactC is one of eight world-first products created by the company.

Since the 1970s, meanwhile, KM Biologics has operated a successful mass-screening program for the early detection of diseases and disorders in newborn children in Japan, with over three million babies tested.

“Our screening is instrumental in identifying conditions such as severe combined immunodeficiency or spinal muscular atrophy,” Mr. Nagasato says.

Acquired by Meiji Holdings in 2018, KM Biologics now aims to leverage synergies with the group’s other pharmaceuticals company to grow its international reach.

“We need to be more global,” Mr. Nagasato declares. “Meiji Seika Pharma has established bases in several countries, including China, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

“These bases present a significant opportunity to introduce our products into local markets.”