Our History

In 1878, Gisaburo Shiono, Sr. founded the company that became Shionogi & Co., Ltd. Still located on the original site in Osaka, Japan, today’s Shionogi retains its entrepreneurial spirit while having the resources of a fully integrated pharmaceutical company serving patients worldwide.

140 Years of Entrepreneurship

Our research scientists have discovered therapeutics including naldemedine, rosuvastatin and dolutegravir, and are currently working on many more potential future products.

In 2008, Shionogi acquired Sciele Pharma, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Atlanta, Georgia, and in 2011, merged it with Shionogi’s small existing development organization in New Jersey. The resulting company became Shionogi Inc., which has the mandate to bring Shionogi innovation to U.S. patients. In 2017, Shionogi Inc. gained approval of Symproic®, the first medicine both discovered and globally developed by Shionogi.

Shionogi Inc. now has a development organization capable of conducting multiple simultaneous late-stage clinical programs and submitting new drug application (NDA) filings worldwide, and we are now establishing the commercial capabilities to effectively bring these medicines to the appropriate patients.

Corporate History Timeline

  • 1878 Shiono Gisaburo Shoten is founded

    The founder, Gisaburo Shiono, learned the wholesale trade under the guidance of Kichibei, his father, who ran a drug wholesale business. On March 17, 1878—Gisaburo’s 24th birthday—he launched his own drug wholesaler, Shiono Gisaburo Shoten, in Doshomachi 3-chome 12, Osaka. This was the beginning of the present-day Shionogi & Co., Ltd.

  • 1886 Transitioned to Western medicine

    At the time of its founding, the store dealt mainly in Japanese and Chinese medicines. Over the next eight years, Western medicine gained gradual but widespread popularity in the public eye, and in 1886, Gisaburo decided to make a dramatic shift into Western medicines. At that time, Western medicine was already in distribution via foreign trading houses in Yokohama and Kobe, but prices were high; drug wholesalers in Japan, who were unfamiliar with the trading business, bought them at the foreign trade merchants’ asking price. Gisaburo was quick to seek the help of an experienced, English-proficient businessperson, thus enabling direct import of pharmaceutical products from overseas. Consequently, he was able to sell them at a price accessible to many patients. Some time later, when other companies also began to import drugs directly, Gisaburo shifted his goal to in-house manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.

  • 1909 Launched first new drug, Antacidin

    After Gisaburo’s second son, Chojiro, graduated from the Pharmaceutical Department of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmaceuticals at Tokyo Imperial University, Shionogi started conducting full-fledged pharmaceutical research. At that time, a supervising pharmacist of Shiono Gisaburo Shoten heard from a chief pediatric physician at Osaka Prefectural Medical School (now School of Medicine at Osaka University) about a prescription for an antacid agent, which had been written in a German pharmaceutical book. Chojiro started manufacturing trials of the antacid agent, and produced and marketed the product successfully. This new anti-indigestion drug, Antacidin, was the first launch of its own innovative drug by Shiono Gisaburo Shoten.

  • 1909 Registered FUNDOH as corporate logo

    Reliability and trust are necessary qualities for effective management. From its founding, Shiono Gisaburo Shoten also regarded these qualities as its most valuable “capital.” The corporate logo of Shionogi is derived from “FUNDOH,” a stylized image of a balance weight historically used to dispense products. FUNDOH also symbolizes “accuracy,” “honesty” and “trust” and represents precision and commitment to quality.

  • 1910 Constructed Shiono Seiyakusho Plant

    After the successful launch of Antacidin, Gisaburo aimed for full-fledged development of new drug manufacturing. To that end, the pharmaceutical plant Shiono Seiyakusho was constructed in Nishinari-gun, Osaka (now Fukushima-ku, Osaka). For the first time, Shionogi had a pharmaceutical department both in name and in reality; Shionogi had now advanced from being a drug wholesaler to becoming a research-based pharmaceutical company.

    In 1910, the plant began operating with Chojiro as Director. However, at the time, imported drugs were overwhelmingly dominant in the pharmaceutical business. Pharmaceutical companies in Japan struggled, forced to rely on imported drug substances. Faced with these circumstances, Chojiro looked to Shiono Seiyakusho as a foundation for future growth. To overcome the tough financial conditions, he invited Heizaburo Kondo, a doctor of pharmacology who had just returned to Japan after study in Germany, to join the operation as a consultant. Digitalis preparation, which had been introduced by Dr. Kondo and developed into a product, was launched in 1912 as the new cardiac drug Digitamin. Import of overseas drugs halted two years later with the start of World War I, but Shionogi saved many lives, not only by manufacturing and distributing the in-house Digitamin, but also by actively dealing in domestic pharmaceutical products.

  • 1945 Aspired to become a global company

    After Japan’s defeat in World War II, Shionogi found itself in devastating circumstances. Overseas offices had been lost all at once, and air raids had destroyed most of the main plant and equipment. The company did not even have drugs available to ship.

    Gisaburo Jr., second President of the company, gathered the employees and spoke: “This is not the time for idle grief. From here on, the world is our partner. We have nothing, and we will not survive if we do not apply ourselves and aspire to being an international-level company.”

    In truth, society was in chaos, a result of the rapid progression of runaway inflation and intensifying price increases in the postwar years. Companies were affected as well, suffering freezes on corporate deposits and cancellation of wartime compensation. Shionogi was no exception, being in bad financial circumstances and falling into the worst crisis since its founding.

    Gisaburo Jr. said, “The only way to eliminate the deficit is for everyone—at every level and every post—to raise their skill levels and cut costs, and to concentrate their resources and efforts. All employees can feel the pressure of this crisis and everyone must combine forces to overcome it head on.” In 1948, the company developed a plan outlining three main objectives to overcome crisis (1. Improvement of quality in every skill, 2. Identification of goals and sufficient progress review, and 3. Keeping the workplace clean) and began efforts to improve management. This was not a temporary measure to increase production in the short term, but a deliberate first step on the road to business streamlining, which would improve productivity for future growth.

  • 1950-1953 Launched products in Japan

    Sedes is an analgesic that works quickly to alleviate pain and fever and contains a component to protect the stomach.

    Popon contains a balance of eight vitamins and calcium to supplement nutrition and promote health.

  • 1957 Codified company philosophy

    Since its founding, Shionogi’s corporate culture and our perpetual goal must be to further increase our medicines’ benefits, which patients can enjoy by constantly manufacturing better drugs, achieving accurate sales and improving our skills, and as a result, we who work at Shionogi will also improve the quality of our own lives. The company adapted and applied its unique philosophy and attitudes, promoting enrichment of employees’ lives and further expanding benefits to patients.

    The Company Policy of Shionogi was established in 1957, a compilation of the management attitudes the company nurtured throughout its history. The Company Policy, which sets forth an eternal goal to strive for, enables us to move forward without losing our basic direction as a pharmaceutical company: “to serve people’s health.”

  • 1958 Established patient-centric company policy

    Following the establishment of the Shionogi Company Policy, President Kotaro Shiono established an innovative patient-centric approach to sharing accurate and valuable medical information with physicians.

  • 1959 Launched Shinomin

    Shinomin, the first sulfonamide antibiotic drug discovered and developed by Shionogi, was launched in 1959. Two years later, Shinomin began to be marketed all over the world, based on its highly appreciated, superior efficacy. In consideration for the scope of the potential global sales growth of antibiotics-related products, Shionogi constructed a plant for manufacturing antibiotics. Additionally, Shionogi had developed a close relationship with U.S.-based Eli Lilly and Company, one of the overseas pharmaceutical partners from whom Shionogi had been importing drugs. In 1952, Shionogi obtained exclusive manufacturing and marketing rights for Ilotycin, a new antibiotic discovered by Eli Lilly and Company. Subsequently, cephalosporin antibiotics were successively introduced into the market, all of which greatly increased Shionogi’s sales: Keflin in 1966, Keflodin in 1967 and Keflex in 1979.

  • 1982 Launched Shiomarin

    Partnership with Eli Lilly and Company significantly benefited Shionogi’s research and manufacturing capabilities in addition to its sales. In 1961, a basic research facility, Shionogi Research Laboratories (now integrated into Shionogi Pharmaceutical Research Center), was established to conduct antibiotics research. In 1982, this research resulted in the successful discovery and launch of an in-house product: Shiomarin, the world’s first oxacephem antibiotic. Flumarin and Flomox were then launched in 1988 and 1997, respectively, earning Shionogi the title “Shionogi, specialists in antibiotics,” and the high level of its fundamental research was highly praised in the academic world.

  • 1983 Constructed Kanegasaki Plant

    Based on a long-term plan for future expansion of pharmaceutical plant facilities, Kanegasaki Plant, one of Shionogi’s key plants, was constructed on a large plant site secured in Kanegasaki-cho, Isawa-gun, Iwate.

    This plant, which was equipped with manufacturing technologies and a quality control system inspected and approved by overseas regulatory authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), manufactures in-house anti-infective and anti-pain agents. Along with Settsu Plant in Osaka and Kuise Site in Hyogo, it has been manufacturing high-quality products with commitments to safety, quality, supply, cost and environment.

  • 1988 Established Charter of Conduct

    The Shionogi Charter of Conduct was established to allow us to move forward and develop as a global company. The Charter specifies actions to be taken by Shionogi, not only as a pharmaceutical company, but also as a contributor to society.

  • 2001 Established Shionogi USA, Inc. (now Shionogi Inc.)

    In 2001, an affiliated development company was established in the U.S., intended to concentrate on priority research fields and to speed up development. This establishment also served as a joint venture with UK-based GlaxoSmithKline, and collaborative development of new drugs was started, with a focus in HIV. This collaboration would later become ViiV Healthcare.

  • 2003 Licensed Crestor to AstraZeneca

    Shionogi licensed Crestor, a hyperlipidemia therapy, to UK-based AstraZeneca (AZ). AZ has launched Crestor in the U.S. and in over 100 other countries since that time.

  • 2008 Isao Teshirogi took the helm as President and CEO

    Dr. Isao Teshirogi succeeded Dr. Motozo Shiono as President and Chief Executive Officer. Under Dr. Teshirogi, Shionogi acquired U.S.-based Sciele Pharma, Inc. and streamlined the company’s overseas sales for products discovered in-house.

  • 2010 Established Shionogi Inc. headquarters in Florham Park, NJ

    By establishing our Shionogi Inc. headquarters in Florham Park, NJ, our leadership team brought the benefits of Shionogi’s small molecule drug innovations to U.S. patients through our own efforts and through multiple inventive collaborations. This led to our first two New Chemical Entity (NCE) approvals while reshaping our business around our science-based heritage and core areas of infectious disease and pain.

  • 2011 Emphasized drug discovery with new state-of-the-art research center

    In 2011, Shionogi Pharmaceutical Research Center 4 (SPRC4), a new, cutting-edge research facility, was constructed at a site in Toyonaka, Osaka, which integrated dispersed functions of drug discovery research into SPRC, consisting of the existing three research facilities and a newly constructed one.

  • 2012 Established European subsidiary Shionogi Limited (London, UK)

    In 2012, we launched our Shionogi Limited headquarters in London as part of the company’s Third Medium-Term Business Plan, a five-year plan to expand our business worldwide. Our presence in London marked the beginning of a new era for the company as we expanded into Europe and leveraged our strong heritage in the discovery and development of globally important therapies.

  • 2013 Launched Osphena

    The first global new chemical entity filed, approved and marketed by Shionogi Inc.

  • 2014 Focused on new drug discovery

    In April 2014, the Third Medium-Term Business Plan was brought to an end one year early, and we formulated the New Medium-Term Business Plan, “Shionogi Growth Strategy 2020 (SGS2020).” This decision, among others (including the establishment of a new business scheme with ViiV Healthcare for the HIV integrase inhibitor franchise products, announced in October 2012, and modification of the Crestor royalty structure with AstraZeneca, announced in December 2013), was made in an effort to adapt to rapid changes in the external business environment, which required us to revise the business targets set by the Third Medium-Term Business Plan.

    In the New Medium-Term Business Plan, our vision includes the goal to “grow as a drug discovery–based pharmaceutical company.” The plan sets return on equity (ROE) as one of the management indicators, specifies business targets to be achieved in the next three years and intends to update results and progress toward overcoming the remaining challenges to achieving its financial targets for FY2020 each year on a rolling basis. By undertaking these efforts, we are determined to conduct business in a way that is flexible enough to adapt to rapid changes in the external business environment, as well as to propel further growth by focusing on drug discovery and research to create innovative medicines.

  • 2017 Divested Osphena to Duchesnay

    Shionogi chose Duchesnay to maximize the value of Osphena in the U.S. and Canada because of Duchesnay’s track record of success, sole focus on women’s health and commitment to improving the health of women. Osphena is the only oral, non-hormonal prescription medication indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe dyspareunia, a medical condition affecting thousands of women. Shionogi Inc. will continue to retain rights to Osphena in all other countries of the world.

  • 2017 Launched Symproic globally

    Shionogi launches Symproic®, our first global new chemical entity discovered in Shionogi labs and filed, approved and marketed by Shionogi. Our alliance with Purdue Pharma includes a comprehensive collaboration on all aspects of strategy and sales of Symproic.

  • 2018 Celebrated Shionogi’s 140th anniversary

    2018 marks the 140th anniversary of our commitment to supplying the best possible medicines to protect the health and well-being of the patients we serve. In 1878, Gisaburo Shiono, Sr. founded the company that became Shionogi & Co., Ltd., and our headquarters is still located on the original site in Osaka, Japan. Today’s Shionogi retains our entrepreneurial spirit while having the resources of a fully integrated pharmaceutical company serving patients worldwide. Our research scientists have discovered therapeutics including naldemedine, rosuvastatin and dolutegravir, and are currently working on many more potential future products.