History Of Santen

Founded in Osaka in 1890, we have continued to evolve our selection and concentration in the field of eye health, creating and innovating to meet the unmet needs of people and society.
Santen was founded in Osaka in 1890 and launched “Daigaku Eye Drops” in 1899 as Santen’s first eye care product. At the time, many people in Japan were suffering from eye diseases, and this product quickly became available throughout the country. In the 1950s, Santen entered the prescription pharmaceutical business.
In 1990, when Santen celebrated its 100th anniversary, we embarked on a new path of growth. In addition to growing our business in Japan by expanding our product lineup and completing construction of new plants and laboratories, Santen expanded into the European market to extend our contribution to improving the eye health of patients worldwide. To meet the needs of more people, Santen built a business base in Asia in the 2000s, establishing its own sales network and production plant in China. Since 2010, Santen has continued to expand its business in Asia and Europe.



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.



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.



Operations incorporated as Santendo Co., Ltd. Chuko Mita is appointed first president

To develop its business, Santendo Co., Ltd. is established with Chuko Mita as its first president. Major products at that time include Heburin-ganDaigaku Eye DropsSanten Cough Medicine, and constipation treatment Kentsu-gan.



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.



Daigaku Penicillin Eye DropsDaigaku Mycillin Eye Drops, and Daigaku Super Eye Drops launched in 1952, 1953, and 1954, respectively

Launch of a business strategy focusing on eye drops for corporate reconstruction.



Expansion into the prescription drug market

Company renamed as Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (current name). Now accounting for more than 90% of all corporate sales, the prescription drug business (in other words, the manufacturing and marketing of drugs prescribed by health care establishment) has grown to become Santen's core enterprise. In 1962, Santen acquired the domestic marketing rights for the mydriatic Midorin-P (generic name: tropicamide) from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche and began sales of this treatment in Japan. A groundbreaking drug that promotes mydriasis, or dilation of the pupil, Midorin-P contributed to the advancement of ophthalmic surgery and diagnosis and helped Santen enhance its stature in the field of prescription ophthalmics.



The launch of Super Sante the introduction of Japan's first plastic eye drop container

Eye drops used to be packaged in glass containers, which had its drawbacks. These containers were difficult and expensive to produce in large volumes because they were hand-made and also had a tendency to break at times. The new Super Sante featured Japan's first plastic eye drop container that was easy to carry and use. The product along with its unique container became widely popular among consumers and triggered a rapid expansion of eye drop sales in Japan.



Listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange

In this year, Santen increased its capitalization to 1,102 million yen and achieved a sales record of 9,000 million yen.



Noto Plant established
The Noto Plant was Santen's first production base equipped with a factory automation system, and evolved to become one of the world's largest eye drop manufacturing operations. The plant is currently Santen's flagship factory and produces top-selling ophthalmics such as Cravit and Hyalein.



Long-term vision drawn up for Santen's 100th anniversary

On the centennial of Santen's founding, the Company announces its long-term vision: "To contribute to society with the best products and services focusing on the eye and health"; and devises management objectives focusing on becoming " a world-class company" and a "leader in all areas of ophthalmic treatments".



TAHMIN SANTEN CO., LTD. established in Taiwan



Subsidiary Santen Inc. established in the U.S.

U.S. subsidiary Santen Inc. established. Santen Inc. conducts R&D, business development and strategic marketing activities in the U.S.



Nara Research and Development Center and Shiga Plant opened



Santen Pharmaceutical Korea, Co., Ltd. established



Suzhou Plant established in China



Santen Pharmaceutical Korea Co., Ltd. commenced marketing



Santen Holdings EU B.V. established as a holding company



Santen Pharmaceutical Asia Pte.Ltd. established in Singapore
Ho Chi Minh Representative Office established



Established subsidiaries in Switzerland, Italy, the U.K., Spain, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines









Santen 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.