Tokyo - On July 3, the Central Research Laboratories of Pfizer KK, located in the rural Taketoyocho town in Aichi Prefecture was formally divested and became RaQualia Souyaku KK, a Japanese joint stock corporation with registered capital of 10 million Yen. The 18-month "ristora" saga concluded with a twist, as the former owner became 3rd largest stockholder in the new venture. President of RaQualia Souyaku KK A. Nagahisa

However the twist was not only unexplained detail. Nobody seems to know what Raquilia in the name of the company means. The second part - souyaku as written in Japanese stands for "drug development", however the legally adopted English title of the company blandly says just "pharma". The new entity will be headed by ex-Pfizer R&D manager - Mr. Atsushi Nagahisa (pictured at left) who plans to spend the entire raised venture capital by 2011, when an IPO is foreseen. Mr. T. Kendall - an English language instructor, was appointed at the position of "Executive Director for Global Business Development and Licensing" and whose responsibilities would include achieving targets sales of 1.1 billion Yen in 2009 and 4.1 billion Yen in 2010. The overall target of the new entity is to release 2 new drug candidates every year prior to the tentative IPO.


Tokyo - "Ristora" is a Japanese business slang for restructuring. Pfizer Japan HQWhether it was ristora or not, this year Pfizer Japan implemented significant changes: following 600 person staff lay-off in January, its research facility in Japan was divested as widely reported in the press.

With U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc. closing its Nagoya laboratory, about 80 researchers at the site plan to take over the operations and assets through an employee buyout. The researchers will establish a new-drug venture and buy facilities and the rights to develop substance for potential new drugs from Pfizer, making a fresh start as early as next April. They will take a controlling stake in this venture, with 10 billion yen -- the running cost for three years -- to be raised from investment funds in Japan and abroad. The current laboratory's director, Atsushi Nagahisa, will likely be named president of the venture, which they intend to take public in several years. By the end of this year, the researchers and the U.S. parent plan to decide which substances for potential new drugs the venture will take over and will work out terms of agreement. Pfizer might take a stake in the venture.

Investors disagree on what share previous parent should hold: "We have some investors who say they think the company will do much better if is independent and any Pfizer stake is small and we have others who say they would be more comfortable with bigger Pfizer participation," the CEO said.
Pfizer_lab_nagoyaThe newly reborn laboratory would initially focus on discovering drugs for pain-related and gastro-intestinal diseases but also move on to clinical trials later, as the spokesman for the laboratory said it may take on developing dormant patents on Pfizer drugs for the Japanese markets.

Pfizer Global Research & Development Nagoya Laboratories was established in 1985 to conduct basic research on painkillers and digestive system drugs. But hit by slumping sales, Pfizer announced in January plans to close five labs worldwide, including the Aichi location, where about 380 researchers work. To avoid confusion and ease employee anxiety, Pfizer intends to accept the employee buyout. The new venture will earn income through licensing arrangements with pharmaceutical firms.

Data sourced from companies press releases and general media; additional content by JKS staff

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