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Shionogi leads Japan's push for homegrown vaccines

Osaka-based company bets on COVID treatments for further growth

A COVID-19 vaccine from Shionogi, led by CEO Isao Teshirogi, would fit the national strategy for domestic vaccine development and could suit the demand for ones with fewer side effects. (Source photos by screenshot from Shionogi's website, courtesy of Shionogi and Atsushi Ooka) 

TOKYO -- In the global race to develop COVID-19 vaccines, Japan has been conspicuous by its absence. But if the world's third-largest economy is to find standard-bearers in the push for homegrown vaccines, Shionogi, a maker of drugs for infectious diseases, and its media-savvy CEO, Isao Teshirogi, might be prime candidates.

The 61-year-old chief executive appears on TV, in newspapers and magazines and at international conferences, promoting his company's efforts to develop a vaccine and drugs against COVID-19. Teshirogi took the helm in 2008 at age 48 and is widely credited with turning the struggling drugmaker into the nation's most profitable one by focusing on a few select areas, including infectious diseases.

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