Mr. Yoshiki Kida, President & CEO of Nobelpharma America, faced a tough decision in choosing the US office for Nobelpharma. The two options that he considered carefully were New Jersey and Maryland. The New Jersey/New York area is traditionally known as a pharmaceutical center, and many prominent businesses, both Japanese and US, are located there. Moreover, Mr. Kida was familiar with the region, since he lived in Princeton, New Jersey on assignment as the US representative for a previous employer fifteen years ago. In the end, however, Mr. Kida opted to open the US subsidiary of Nobelpharma Co., Ltd. in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, in order to locate the office within the region’s cluster of prominent hospitals, government bodies, and patients’ organizations.
Nobelpharma is a Japanese biotechnology company that is solely focused on developing solutions for rare diseases(1) and unmet medical needs. Nobelpharma has a number of therapies and medical devices in the pipeline that are aimed at serving unmet needs which have previously been neglected by larger pharmaceutical companies. Since its founding in 2003, Nobelpharma has received approvals for 10 “orphan” drugs and devices. With its mantra, “If there is no precedence, be the first to try”, Nobelpharma has been successfully marketing special drugs and devices in Japan, and has now decided to expand to the US, European and Chinese markets.
Two of the first Nobelpharma drugs to be marketed in the US will be for tuberous sclerosis complex, which will treat a genetic disorder that results in benign tumors on vital organs, and for adductor spasmodic dysphonia, a vocal disorder that causes the vocal cords to stiffen.
Nobelpharma decided to locate the US office in Maryland, close to the nation’s capital, after reflecting on the nexus of healthcare bodies in the region. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and several prominent hospitals such as Johns Hopkins are in the area, making the DC region a top bio cluster. Additionally, the proximity to patients’ organizations such as TS Alliance was a critical factor to locate in the DC region.
Washington CORE was honored to help launch Nobelpharma’s US journey , supporting them from the site selection, to building relationships with such key players as the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, the Maryland Department of Commerce, NIH, BioHealth Innovation Inc., the Japanese Commerce Association of Washington, DC, and other bio companies in the region. Washington CORE hopes to continue supporting Nobelpharma as it enters the US market.
(1) In the United States, a rare disease is defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the nation. This definition was established by U.S. Congress in the Orphan Drug Act of 1983. https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/pages/31/faqs-about-rare-diseases