President and CEO Message
Contributing to people's eye health worldwide through a wide range of ophthalmic products and services.
Contributing in the Ophthalmology Field Is Our True Mission
Looking back at fiscal 2018, we made considerable progress in executing our key strategies under MTP2020, the new three-year Medium-Term Plan we announced as the culmination of our long-term vision through 2020.
In our global business strategy, the goal was to achieve Group-wide growth that exceeded that of the market by advancing into the fast-growing Asian market using assets and knowledge from Japan and EMEA. This included focusing on activities deeply rooted in customer needs in each Asian country and rolling out products originally launched in Japan and EMEA such as Ikervis and Diquas in Asia. In addition, we leveraged our personnel and expertise in medical and regulatory affairs in Japan and EMEA for the Asia business. As a result, sales in Asia grew over 20% year on year, leading sales growth for the Group as a whole. Solid progress was also made in advance of entering the U.S. market, including preparations for a 2019 PMA (premarket approval) application for PRESERFLO MicroShunt, a glaucoma treatment device, and the signing of an exclusive distributor agreement for the same device with Glaukos Corporation. During the year, Santen has also expanded lineup of products and services beyond eye drops, including the launch in Japan of Eybelis, an intraocular lens for cataract surgery, supplements, and carried out global efforts to enhance patient awareness.
Santen's fundamental policy under MTP2020 is to achieve our long-term strategic vision toward 2020 of becoming a "Specialized Pharmaceutical Company with a Global Presence," and building a pathway to sustained growth in 2020 and beyond. With the expansion of our products and services and through customer-focused activities involving patients and doctors, the ratio of overseas sales reached 31% in fiscal 2018 as our global presence continues to grow.
Going forward, we will continue to leverage our specialization and knowledge in the ophthalmology field to further expand our contributions to patients and their loved ones.
Contributing to Fulfilling Lives for People through a Broad Approach
As a specialized ophthalmology company, Santen has expanded its efforts to respond to the needs of patients and those involved in medical care. For example glaucoma, which requires lifetime control over intraocular pressure, has few noticeable symptoms, leading many patients to stop treatment which makes continued treatment an issue. In our Japan business, Santen has begun supplying its own developed glaucoma treatment program packages to medical clinics as part of our efforts to support treatment compliance.
As populations age, the number of ophthalmology patients worldwide is expected to increase even further, giving Santen an even greater responsibility for eye health. Looking at conditions surrounding global ophthalmology, some regions in emerging countries may not be able to provide patients with appropriate information and treatment, and offering more people access to high-quality eye care is an issue. Expectations have also grown for innovations in diagnostic technology and qualitative improvements in treatment, including regenerative medicine, gene therapy, IoT and micro-devices.
As a specialized company in the ophthalmic field, Santen approaches these issues from a broad point of view. We hope to continue the challenge of helping patients and others the world over achieve happy lives, while actively incorporating these and other new technologies.
Strengthening Our Organizational Base to Create Sustained Value for Customer
Acceleration of business growth overseas brings with it the globalization of our organization, including a ratio of overseas employees exceeding 50%, as well as increased diversification of needs among patients, medical professionals and other customers. To respond to those diverse needs, Santen undertook a review of its global structure with the goal of strengthening its organizational capabilities, and in April 2019 we conducted major organizational changes. Sales and marketing organizations are now dedicated to customer-facing activities. R&D and other organizations responsible for creating and supplying products and services are focused on providing solutions based on customer needs. Finally, the mission of the corporate organization is to contribute to our customers by promoting our strategies and optimizing operations with a global perspective. We have also begun work on business process reforms across the entire Group, as well as global standardization and integration of processes and systems centered on mission-critical operations. Through these efforts, we will improve both productivity and organizational collaboration, and focus management resources on activities that generate customer value, while also enhancing the quality of our products and services.
All of us at Santen will continue working together toward sustainable growth as we contribute to better eye health for people the world over.