TOKYO -- Takeda Pharmaceutical will expand into sub-Saharan Africa, becoming the first Japanese drug company to have a presence in the region, with operations set to reach full swing in the next two-to-three years.
The company will open a small office in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday. The office, to be staffed by several people, will serve as the company's main base for the region as operations branch out to other countries. Takeda will cooperate with local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), insurance companies and trading houses to develop its sales network for products such as anticancer and diabetes drugs.
The drugmaker's sales structure will cater to both wealthy and lower-income populations by adjusting prices and products for each group. For lower-income populations, the company will reduce prices so patients can have increased access to necessary drugs.
Takeda will be looking at the business models of pharmaceutical companies already present in sub-Saharan Africa, such as the U.K.'s GlaxoSmithKline. Until now, Japanese drugmakers have limited operations in the African continent to such nations as Egypt and South Africa, while European and American companies have dominated the market in sub-Saharan Africa. Rapid economic growth in the region is expanding the population of the middle class, which will likely lift demand for medical products.
Takeda will attend the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Nairobi this weekend as the sole participant from the pharmaceutical industry. In order to bump up its support in the health sector, Takeda has promised to reinvest all funds earned from the sub-Saharan business back into the region.