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Daiichi Sankyo harnesses 'old' R&D to strike cancer drug gold

Market cap doubles on surprise breakthrough by a specialist in lifestyle diseases

Daiichi Sankyo's expertise in chemical synthesis played a key role in the development of a promising cancer drug.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese drugmaker that has not had a blockbuster product for nearly a decade, is surging in market value, joining the 5 trillion yen ($46 billion) club that also includes such marquee names as Nintendo and Honda Motor.

The drugmaker pulled off a major breakthrough in cancer treatment using traditional research methods largely abandoned by bigger rivals. The new drug, Enhertu, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late last year and launched this month, spurring a market rally. 

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