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Business trends

Japan's drugmakers look to orphan drugs to vie with Western rivals

Technology and government aid are improving viability of rare disease cures

Japanese pharmaceutical companies are looking to make inroads in developing cures for rare diseases, a field overlooked by companies in the U.S. and Europe. (Photo by Noriyuki Takada)

TOKYO -- Japanese pharmaceutical companies are ramping up efforts to develop cures for rare diseases. Progress in digital technology and generous government financial support are making such drugs increasingly lucrative.

Fujifilm Holdings and Takeda Pharmaceutical are two of the drugmakers that are seeking to grow their business of selling costly drugs for rare conditions. The market for these so-called orphan drugs will be worth $200 billion in 2022, according to an estimate by a British research company.

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