Under our new management structure, we will fulfill our responsibilities as a specialized ophthalmic company, with the aim of contributing further to ophthalmic treatment around the world.
Contributing Further to Ophthalmic Treatment under Our New Management Structure
Accelerating Business Based on Santen's Values
On April 1, 2018, Santen adopted a new management structure. Shigeo Taniuchi was appointed as President and Chief Operating Officer, and I was appointed as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. This opens a new chapter for Santen. We are determined to implement a wide range of additional reforms, with a view to contributing further to ophthalmic treatment and achieving sustainable growth.
Meanwhile, although the management structure has changed, Santen's Values will remain the bedrock of the Company. Santen's Values are embodied in the phrase "Tenki ni sanyo suru," which literally means "exploring the secrets and mechanisms of nature in order to contribute to people's health." We interpret this to mean "We think carefully about what is essential, decide clearly what we should do, and act quickly." In fact, the Company's name "Santen" is derived from this phrase. Guided by Santen's Values, we have concentrated management resources on ophthalmology and have delivered products and services attuned to the treatment needs of each country and region. Santen's Mission Statement based on our Values clearly states that we must concentrate our efforts on a carefully chosen field of specialization and contribute to the well-being of patients and their loved ones. It articulates "for whom" and "for what purpose" Santen exists as a company. By sharing this philosophy with employees around the world, I am confident that the entire Company will be able to demonstrate its strengths to the fullest extent possible. I have attached great importance to Santen's Values, both as a basis for making management decisions and as a foundation for communicating with employees.
Santen is working on priorities such as developing products that meet the needs of medical professionals, offering a product lineup that covers a wide range of therapeutic categories, and providing detailed support for a multitude of customer needs that vary with each country and region. By conducting business activities based on Santen's Values, we have successfully built up Santen as we know it today — a company whose strengths lie in its customer focus and specialization in ophthalmology.
Enhancing QOL for Patients around the World
Turning our attention to ophthalmic patients and treatments, we face a range of issues in the world today. These include a worldwide increase in the number of patients driven by population aging as well as the emergence of new diagnostic and treatment technologies. Further, the number of patients in emerging countries is growing while a disparity in access to healthcare also exists. Considering the critical importance of vision in daily life, people who develop eye diseases can often experience a significant decline in their Quality of Life (QOL). Santen must fulfill its mission to contribute to the development of ophthalmic treatments through its business activities. I believe that fulfilling this mission is what we stand for, and why we are here.
Santen has also embraced challenges such as initiatives unique to a specialized ophthalmic company and activities to fulfill its responsibilities as a top ophthalmic manufacturer. For example, we are working to develop an environment that enables as many patients as possible to receive essential ophthalmic treatment. Specific initiatives include the development and provision of a glaucoma treatment continuation program package in Japan, research in dry eye and support for raising awareness of this condition, and assistance for the education and training of ophthalmologists in emerging countries.
In addition, we are expanding opportunities to contribute to ophthalmic treatment by building up our presence as a specialized ophthalmic company, and forming partnerships with external institutions that possess advanced technological capabilities and expertise, among other measures. During the previous medium-term management plan, we took actions such as taking over ophthalmic products from Merck & Co., Inc., acquiring U.S.-based InnFocus, Inc., which is developing a glaucoma treatment device (DE-128), and establishing a joint venture with Chongqing Kerui Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., Ltd. in China. We also proactively pursued joint research with the RIKEN national institute and Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). Through these business development initiatives, we have extended the range of our products and services and pushed ahead with the development of new treatment options. This business model leverages our strengths as a specialized ophthalmic company.
Under our new management team, we will continue to implement a virtuous cycle of creation and innovation as we take full advantage of Santen's strengths and unique characteristics, with the aim of contributing further to ophthalmic treatment.
Seeking to Enhance Corporate Value
Aiming to Fulfill CSR by Contributing to Ophthalmic Treatment
Santen positions social contributions through its business activities as the central focus of its CSR activities. We believe that it is crucial to contribute to the QOL of ophthalmic patients through Santen's products and services, support widespread adoption and development of ophthalmic treatments around the world, and implement measures to improve access to medicines. Moreover, in July 2018, Santen received marketing authorization in Europe for a treatment of severe vernal keratoconjunctivitis as an orphan medicinal product. I believe that Santen has a responsibility to develop such orphan medicinal products precisely because we are a specialized ophthalmic company.
In October 2017, Santen announced its participation in the United Nations (UN) Global Compact. We have augmented our activity guidelines with the UN Global Compact's Ten Principles in the four fields of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption as we redouble our efforts to develop a sustainable society.
Enhance Corporate Governance
In order to achieve sustainable growth, Santen is working to enhance and strengthen corporate governance. Under our corporate governance, we believe that it is essential not only to have systems in place, but also to implement measures to ensure that those systems function effectively. For example, the Outside Directors and Outside Corporate Auditors must make decisions promptly and appropriately as well as provide management oversight. To ensure they can perform these duties, it is imperative for Santen to share information and foster interactive communication with the Outside Directors and Outside Corporate Auditors so they may properly grasp and monitor Santen's business environment, management and business execution systems, as well as strategies as a matter of course. In addition, we are emphasizing stronger compliance systems to fulfill our social mission of providing appropriate products and services to patients around the world. We will also continue to push ahead with activities to keep pace with the globalization of our business operations.