Category Archives: BUSINESS

A Japanese generic company works on strategic lawsuit with a recently acquired US company to develop the US market

A Japanese generic company, Sawai Pharmaceutical Co. is planning to actively work on lawsuits in the US in cooperation with its US subsidiary, Upsher-Smith Laboratories Inc., the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (the Daily Industrial News) reported on August 25. Sawai acquired Upsher-Smith for $1,050 million on May 31 this year.

According to the article, Sawai will conduct invalidity search for patents which protect original drugs and of which remaining patent term is long until expired, to submit paragraph IV certifications. By invalidating patents for original drugs, Sawai expects to expand sales of its generic drugs. Sawai has a plan to release one or two generic drugs per year in the US, starting from early 2020’s, through this kind of activities.

Sawai obtained ANDA (Abbreviated New Drug Application) approval for Pitavastatin Tablets in February this year. It is said that this is the first ANDA approval based on a paragraph IV for Japanese generic manufacturers. It seems that Sawai doesn’t want to wait for expiration of patents, but rather wants to actively invalidate patents for original drugs. IP service companies who excel in patent invalidity search may become good partners for Sawai.

The Japanese government concerns about the growth of medical expenses in recent years. In 2016, the amount of total national medical expenses amounted to JPY 41.28 trillion, which includes drug dispensing cost JPY 7.49 trillion. The government is promoting the use of generics to reduce medical expenses and announced a plan to make penetration rate of generics increase to 80% by September in 2020 (cf. 69.8% in December 2016).

If Sawai goes well, other Japanese generic companies may follow the same approach as Sawai. I personally don’t want to see many patents for original drugs invalidated, …continue reading


Ending North Korean brinkmanship

Author: Vinod Saighal, New Delhi

Analysts across the world have begun to justify North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s brinkmanship on the grounds that he is securing the longevity of his regime against any action that the United States might take. As long as Kim knows that China will not join hands with the United States in taking him out, he will keep upping the ante — thumbing his nose, so to say, at the United States.

Missiles are driven past the stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other high ranking officials during a military parade marking the 105th birth anniversary of North Korea’s founding father, Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang, 15 April 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Sue-Lin Wong).

US President Donald Trump may threaten fire and fury and an unimaginable scale of destruction, but he knows that the United States is on the horns of a dilemma. And now Russia too has come out in opposition to unilateral US action, insisting that dialogue is the only way out.

By the looks of it, Kim is not likely to stop his brinkmanship. But provoking the United States beyond a certain …continue reading


Abe shuffles his pieces for the political endgame

Author: Yukinobu Kitamura, Hitotsubashi University

It looks as if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is fighting for his political endgame, but his pet policy Abenomics is coming under increasing pressure on a number of fronts.

First, history is against Abe. Japan’s current business cycle began in November 2012, coinciding with Abe’s appointment as prime minister on 26 December that year. But although the economy is reasonably robust for now, after 45 months, the current cycle could end at any time (Japanese business cycles since World War II have typically lasted between 40 and 60 months). This is bad news for Abe because no prime ministers except Shigeru Yoshida and Eisaku Sato survived in office for more than one business cycle.

Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda at a news conference at the bank’s headquarters in Tokyo. It will be difficult for Japan to maintain its quantitative and qualitative monetary easing if other major economies move to normal monetary policy. (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai).

According to the Bank of Japan’s Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices in July 2017, the Japanese economy will continue growing in 2017–18. After this, growth is expected to drop in 2019 due to anticipated decline …continue reading


Japan’s supply of new office space hits lowest level since 1980

According to the Japan Real Estate Institute, 1.35 million square meters (approx. 14.5 million sq ft) of new office space was supplied across the country in 2016, down 25% from 2016 and the lowest level seen since 1980. 84% of the new supply was centered in Tokyo’s 23 wards.

Sapporo, Sendai, Saitama, Kyoto and Kobe saw no new office buildings supplied last year, although there are several new buildings planned for completion over the next two years. Kyoto City, however, has no new office supply planned for the near future. Kyoto is reportedly suffering from a severe shortage of office space with office brokerage Miki Shoji reporting a current office vacancy rate around 2%, down from 12% seen in 2010.

Nationwide, a total of 96 buildings containing 930,000 sqm of floor space were demolished in 2016.

26% of the total office stock in Japan is in buildings that were built to the older earthquake codes (pre-1981). Fukuoka City has the highest share with 40% of office buildings over 36 years old. Sapporo City has a ratio of 39% and Osaka City has a ratio of 32%. The ratio in Tokyo is 23%.

In Tokyo, 120 new office buildings containing 4.04 million sqm of floor space are planned for completion between 2017 and 2019.

New office buildings planned for Tokyo:


  • Otemachi Park Building: A 150m tall tower overlooking the Imperial Palace. The total floor area is 150,000 sqm. It includes the Ascot Marunouchi Tokyo serviced apartments on the upper floors.
  • Akasaka Intercity Air: A 205m tall tower with over 82,000 sqm of leasable office space. The main tenant is Saison Information Systems.
  • Jingumae Tower Building: A 115m tall office building with a total floor area of 43,000 sqm. It is located right at the end of Harajuku’s Takeshita-dori shopping street.


  • Tokyo Midtown Hibiya: A 191m tall redevelopment project located across …continue reading

Public equity markets and innovation

Public equity markets and innovation

One of the key challenges for policy makers today is fostering an environment that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship to create robust economic growth. Public equity markets are typically central to such environments, and in particular the ability of firms to go public through the initial public offering (IPO) process. For example, since 1980, more than 40% of the firms that have gone public and transitioned to public equity markets in the United States have been technology firms, raising more than $250 billion in gross proceeds. The IPO markets have also grown significantly in East Asia, and this trend is expected to continue. In fact, the increase in the number of IPOs in Asia is much more stark when considering the relative proportion of Asia in global IPO markets. In 2016, 60% of all global IPOs were centered in Asia and the Pacific, mostly due to the People’s Republic of China. This was a significant increase from 42% back in 2013.

What exactly is the role of public equity markets in the innovation process and in the entrepreneurial eco-system more broadly? Public equity markets affect the innovation process through various dimensions. Maybe their most important role is in the provision of capital to fast-growing companies. While alleviating financing constraints through public equity markets might be important for all young firms, this might be particularly true in the case of technology firms, which rely heavily on public equity markets to finance their research and development (R&D) investments. Other forms of financing, such as debt, may be typically limited for technology firms due to the high degree of uncertainty associated with R&D investments and the lack of tangible assets in innovative projects.

Selling shares on public equity markets in an IPO event (and also in subsequent secondary offerings) also provides an important source of liquidity …continue reading