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Terumo rises to health care market challenges through continuous innovation

Founded in 1921, Terumo manufactures and distributes medical devices, with sales and operations in more than 160 countries. The group’s global sales revenues exceed US$5 billion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 5:54pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 5:54pm

Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports

Combating major lifestyle diseases, such as heart diseases, diabetes, stroke and hypertension, is a serious commitment for Japan-based Terumo Corp, a leading global medical technology company.

Driven by its vision, “Innovating at the Speed of Life”, the group develops advanced treatments for diseases and helps with early detection and prevention of various health conditions.

“We contribute to society by offering valued products and services to the health care industry,” says Hideo Arase, managing director for Terumo Asia Holdings, which handles the group’s Asia-Pacific operations with the exception of China and Japan.

Founded in 1921, Terumo manufactures and distributes medical devices, with sales and operations in more than 160 countries. The group’s global sales revenues exceed US$5 billion. Terumo actively acquires medical device companies and technologies to enhance its capabilities in providing minimally invasive interventional systems. Last year, it bought portions of cardiovascular treatment products owned by Abbott and St Jude Medical, enabling Terumo to offer a more comprehensive range of products in minimally invasive entry site management and lesion access.

The group’s acquisition of Sequent Medical last year strengthens Terumo’s capability in managing intracranial aneurysms without needing open surgery. Terumo’s newly acquired mesh-based system for treating aneurysm requires only one insertion, leading to shorter recovery times and reduction of medical costs.

“Minimally invasive surgical procedures mean less physical burden particularly for high-risk, frail or elderly patients,” Arase says. “The faster recovery period also minimises the risk of infections because only a small incision is made.”

In March, Terumo acquired thoracic and abdominal stent graft systems innovator Bolton Medical to enhance the group’s product portfolio in the global stent market and strengthen its vascular graft business.

For its research and development activities, Terumo adopts a needs-driven and technology-push approach. Its breakthrough innovations include GLIDEWIRE, a hydrophilic-coated guidewire with superior lubricity that can move smoothly and rapidly through tortuous vessels and difficult lesions. GLIDEWIRE’s nitinol core enhances its shape-retention capabilities and makes it kink-resistant for better manoeuvrability. Another advanced technology is Lunawave, an optical coherence tomography system that displays the conditions of blood vessel walls in high-resolution imaging.

The group operates under three major business segments. For its cardiac and vascular segment, which makes up roughly half of its business, Terumo develops products used in endovascular intervention and cardiovascular surgery. It also manufactures drug delivery devices for interventional oncology.

For its general hospital segment, Terumo produces, supplies, leases and sells hospital equipment, pharmaceutical, home medical treatment, and peritoneal dialysis and diabetes-related products.

Under blood management, Terumo develops and manufactures blood transfusion products such as blood bags and manual and automated blood component processing devices.

Terumo Asia Holdings oversees the group’s activities in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar, South Korea and Australia. Terumo has production sites in the Philippines, Vietnam and China. It considers Japan as its largest market, which accounts for 36 per cent of its geographical footprint. It also has a strong presence in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines.

“We see that our Ultimaster drug-eluting stent, which facilitates faster and more efficient vascular repair, can improve patient outcomes in many countries across Asia. We also assess opportunities particularly in the areas of cardiology and cancer,” Arase says.

In January this year, the group opened a branch in Myanmar to establish more locally based operations and contribute to the development of medical technologies in the country.

Terumo nurtures collaborations with state agencies, industry players and academic institutions with expertise in bio-design. To offer more affordable solutions to Asian customers and position Terumo Asia Holdings as No 1 in customer satisfaction, Terumo eyes local partnerships to accelerate its open and reverse innovation strategy. It also seeks local distributors possessing strong financial backbone with robust market knowledge and network to optimise Terumo’s product safety and efficiency.