Our Global History
Busaburo Otsuka, founder of Otsuka

Otsuka has been on a journey of creativity and innovation for more than 90 years. During this time, we have discovered and developed treatments for central nervous system disorders (mental health), cardiovascular and digestive diseases, cancer, respiratory disorders, and dermatology conditions, as well as a range of clinical, nutritional and diagnostic products.  

  • The beginning...

    The story of Otsuka began in 1921, when Busaburo Otsuka established Otsuka Seiyaku Kogyo-bu, a factory manufacturing chemical raw materials in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. Back then, the company had just 10 employees.

  • 1946

    Busaburo Otsuka’s eldest son, Masahito, took over the company and began selling Intravenous (I.V.) solutions to hospitals throughout Japan.

  • 1964

    Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. was established and has since created a global business based on pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals (a combination of the words ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceuticals’ used to describe foods and beverages with scientific evidence for their benefit in day-to-day health maintenance).

  • 1971

    The first research and development (R&D) laboratory was opened in Tokushima, Japan.

  • 1976

    Akihiko Otsuka, aged just 38, was appointed President of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. and Otsuka Foods Co. Ltd and developed the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food businesses by focusing on original products.

  • 1979

    Otsuka opened its first European operation in Spain.

  • 1998

    Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd. was set up to support the European operations. Otsuka Europe now has established operations in France, Germany, Italy, the Nordic region, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

  • 1998

    The Otsuka Museum of Art was opened in Naruto, Tokushima to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of Otsuka Group.

  • 2010

    Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd. was listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (the section for the largest, most successful ‘blue chip’ companies).

  • 2011

    Otsuka Group celebrated its 90th anniversary.

  • 2011

    Otsuka signed a long-term partnership agreement with Lundbeck to strengthen and build upon our pharmaceutical business, jointly delivering new medicines for central nervous system disorders.

  • 2011

    Otsuka expanded its medical device business operations in Europe by acquiring KISCO International SAS in France; engaging in research, development and commercialisation of spinal implants and acquiring stakes in Italy’s Era Endoscopy S.r.l., a company focused on self-propelled robotic colonoscopy.

  • 2013

    Otsuka Europe Development and Commercialisation Ltd. (OEDC) was established. Its aim is to develop strategies for the successful development and commercialisation of Otsuka products. OEDC focuses on clinical and regulatory strategy, compliance, patient safety and R&D systems.

  • 2013

    Otsuka acquired Astex Pharmaceuticals to strengthen our cancer portfolio and drug discovery research for central nervous system disorders.