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Otsuka's story

From humble beginnings to a global company

In 2021 we celebrated Otsuka’s 100th anniversary: a key milestone celebrating 100 years of creativity, innovation and creating healthcare solutions. Our story of discovery began in 1921 when Busaburo Otsuka, the son of a farmer, broke tradition and created a factory manufacturing chemical raw materials in Tokushima Prefecture, Japan. Back then the company had just ten employees. By 1946 his son, Masahito, had turned the business into an intravenous (IV) solution company, which became the largest supplier of IV solutions to hospitals in Japan. In 1964, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. was established. Today the Otsuka Group has around 34,400 employees worldwide, and our headquarters are based in Tokyo. During the last 100 years, Otsuka has experienced an extraordinary evolution. What began as a small chemical supply business in Japan is now a global organisation with thousands of employees.

Our Key Milestones

  • 1921
  • The beginning...

    Busaburo Otsuka, the son of a farmer in Tokushima, Japan, took a leap of faith from family tradition and founded Otsuka, a business supplying chemicals from the sea. The company had just ten employees.

  • 1946
  • Business adapted to focus on IV solutions

    Within just 25 years, Otsuka was transformed into a leading supplier of IV solutions, distributing products to hospitals across Japan.

  • 1964
  • Establishment of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

  • Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. was established in Tokushima.

  • 1971
  • R&D is born

  • As Otsuka continued to evolve, the first research and development institute was established in Tokushima.

  • 1974
  • Expansion into Europe

    Now operating on a global scale, Otsuka expanded into Europe, initially setting up operations in Italy and Spain. Today Otsuka has offices in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the Nordics and BeNeLux regions.

  • 1998
  • European Establishment

    Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe Ltd. (OPEL) was established in 1998, based just outside London.

  • 1998
  • Otsuka Museum of Art

  • Otsuka Museum of Art, a ceramic art museum opened in Naruto, Tokushima. It houses over one thousand reproduction masterpieces of major works of art, including a full-size replica of the Sistine Chapel.

  • 2008
  • Tatsuo Higuchi appointed

  • Tatsuo Higuchi appointed as President, Representative Director, Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd.

  • 2010
  • Tokyo Stock Exchange Listing

  • Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. This was the biggest stock flotation ever undertaken in the global pharmaceutical sector at the time.

  • 2021
  • A century of innovation

  • 100 years of creativity, innovation and creating healthcare solutions.

  • 2024
  • Celebrating 50 years of Otsuka in Europe.

Date of preparation: June 2024 | Reference NOR-NPR-2400008

This website is for all those with an interest in Otsuka Pharmaceutical in the Nordics and BeNeLux.