Sankyo Co. Ltd. is currently the second largest pharmaceutical company in Japan. It is famous as the founder of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor anti-hyperlipidemia drugs.
Sankyo was founded in 1913. Sankyo Shoten, Sankyo's predecessor company, had originally been established in 1899. In 1951, Sankyo began domestic production of Chloromycetin, an antibiotic, and in 1971 Dr. Akira Endo and colleagues discovered the first HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, marking the origination of the statin class. In 1980, Sankyo launched Cefmetazon, Japan's first cephamycin antibiotic. Then, in 1982, Sankyo discovered troglitazone, the first insulin sensitizing agent, and licensed Zantac from Glaxo for marketing in Japan. 1985 saw Sankyo establish a clinical research organization in New York, as well as Sankyo Europe GmbH (Germany). In 1989, Sankyo launched the antihyperlipidemia agent Mevalotin (pravastatin). In 1996, Sankyo Pharma set up a joint venture, Sankyo Parke Davis, with Warner Lambert (headquartered in New Jersey), and in 1998 Sankyo Pharma established the Sankyo Pharma Research Institute in San Diego. In 2000, Sankyo Pharma established independent operations in the U.S., and launched WelChol (colesevelam hydrochloride), a non-systemic lipid-lowering agent. In 2001, Sankyo Pharma bought out Warner-Lambert's share of the Sankyo Parke Davis joint venture established in 1996. Sankyo Pharma is the independent U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sankyo Co. The Sankyo Pharma Research Institute (SPRI), established in 1998, is the San Diego-based division of Sankyo Pharma. Sankyo's subsidiary in Germany, Sankyo Pharma GmbH with its headquarters in Munich, is Sankyo's European marketing and distribution centre. Sankyo Pharma GmbH employs a total of 1200 persons, which includes the staff in the headquarters, the 11 European subsidiaries (in the UK, Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Switzerland, and Spain) with their scientific and commercial field forces, and the production plants in Germany and France. Sankyo develops its drugs through an extensive independent network of laboratories in Europe, South America, and the US.