Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

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About Santen

Company History

  • 1890-1950
  • 1951-2000
  • 2001-Current

1890-1950

Origin of Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

In 1890, Kenkichi Taguchi founded a private firm and named it Taguchi Santendo. The firm was incorporated in 1914 as a limited partnership company, which Chuko Mita joined as a business partner. In 1925, Santendo Co., Ltd. was established. As its first president, Chuko Mita built the cornerstone for the company's future development. In 1899, nine years after its founding, Santen launched Daigaku Eye Drops, a huge hit that supported the company's growth during its early days. Even today, a century after its debut, Daigaku Eye Drops are still marketed as the longest-selling eye drops in Japan. Today, Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. has grown into a leading ophthalmic pharmaceutical company in the world and the top manufacturer of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals in Japan. Sales of prescription ophthalmic pharmaceuticals account for over 80% of Santen's total net sales.

1890 Gold signboard of Taguchi Santendo
Heburin-gan and the founding of Santen
Founder Kenkichi Taguchi opens Taguchi Santendo in Kitahama, Osaka. Santen's main product at the time of establishment was a cold medication called Heburin-gan.
1899 Daigaku Eye Drops
The first eye drops of the Company Daigaku Eye Drops launched
It's said that many physicians who came to Japan from abroad during the Meiji Period from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century were astonished at the prevalence of eye disorders among the people of the country. This observation was indicative of the large demand for ophthalmics at the time. To respond to this potential market, Santen launched the Daigaku Eye Drops brand. The ambitious ad campaign for this new product featured the catchphrase "A great eye drop for a rapidly modernizing society" along with the image of a distinguished college professor sporting a full beard and glasses. This trademarked image soon became extremely popular nationwide.
1925 Santendo Co., Ltd.
Operations incorporated as Santendo Co., Ltd.
To develop its business, Santendo Co., Ltd. is established with Chuko Mita as its first president. Major products at that time include Heburin-gan, Daigaku Eye Drops, Santen Cough Medicine, and constipation treatment Kentsu-gan.
1935 Yodogawa Plant
Opening of the Yodogwa Plant
Yodogawa Plant established in Higashi Yodogawa-ku, Osaka (where the Head Office is subsequently established,) When it first commenced operations, the plant mainly produced eye drops, menthol creams, antacids, gastrointestinal medication, antipyretics, antihelminthics, antidiarrheals, analgesics, antitussives and minor wound medication, among other types of drugs.
1945 Inside the Yodogawa Plant in the 1940s
Relocation of the Head Office to the Yodogawa Plant
Following its destruction in the war, the Head Office, Koraibashi Plant, Nakazakicho Plant and Sakuragawa Plant were burned down. The Head Office moved to its current location at the Yodogawa Plant site, In the same year, the firm changed its name to the Santendo Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. as a means of emphasizing its business interests. After the war, the company underwent a period of trials and tribulations where it was forced to lay off a substantial proportion of its workers.
  • 1951-2000