Japanese firms embrace technological advancements to make positive impact

Azbil Corporation strengthens businesses in the Asia Pacific with a focus on the UN's SDGs; whilst Kyowa Kirin's cutting-edge science raises health and well-being through innovative specialty drugs.

The azbil Group aims to achieve a sustainable society through human-centered automation.

Leading automation solutions provider, Azbil Corporation, continues to pursue industry growth and the achievement of a sustainable society globally guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Addressing customers’ needs, whilst maintaining socially-responsible and environment-friendly business practices, requires a need for balance—and the company integrates these factors together in its business. Azbil sees the potential for long- term development from the increasing demand for automation technologies to address social issues and achieve sustained growth.

Formerly known as Yamatake Corporation, Azbil stays true to its philosophy of “human- centered automation” that promotes collaboration between humans and machines. It recognises the irreplaceable value of human ingenuity and the efficiency of applying automation technology in the industry and so it works to contribute to people’s safety, comfort and fulfilment, and global environmental preservation.

The azbil Group’s business segments in Building Automation, Advanced Automation, and Life Automation provide customers with its unique value in offices, production sites, and everyday life. The group works in various industries, offering high-quality control systems and products that help businesses improve productivity, safety, profitability, and environmental compliance.

“We aim to continue expanding our share in the Asian market by demonstrating unique capabilities and implementing measures customised to each country’s business environment and infrastructure,” said Mr. Takayuki Yokota, Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer, CFO and in charge of international business at Azbil Corporation.

Azbil has been expanding its global operations with the aim of developing them into another engine for business growth. The group currently has sales and service operations in 23 countries, adopting new dialogue with stakeholders and digital content like social media, product presentations, webinars, digital exhibitions, virtual tours, and video conference from their showroom in Singapore. This allows Azbil to communicate consistently with stake- holders across regions to share the group’s new technologies, products, and services.

Its distinctive solutions in three growth fields—new automation, environment and energy and life-cycle solutions—share a common foundation of automation technology to achieve and continue sustainable growth. These enable continuous improvements to the quality of space and productivity in the customers’ assets, as well as improvements in energy usage.

“We are targeting to effectively reduce CO2 emissions at customers’ sites and decrease greenhouse gases from our business activities across the entire supply chain whilst using natural resources effectively to preserve the Earth’s environment,” said Mr. Yokota.

This commitment can be seen in their projects, particularly a demonstration project in Indonesia where Azbil installed its advanced control technology in the existing control system. This achieved a coordinated control of multiple power plants resulting in greatly improved efficiency. This low-carbon technology has also successfully reduced approximately 35,000 tons of CO2 emissions in 10 months at a refinery unit for one of Indonesia’s large gas and oil companies and cut power plants energy usage by approximately 4% leading to a savings of approximately ¥300m (S$3.56m).

“The needs of customers and society are evolving worldwide — with demands for high quality, safety, remote access, and global decarbonisation,” said Mr. Yokota.

“We will continue to strengthen our product and service development capabilities and technological innovation strategies to meet customers’ needs and create new value through automation. We will also build greater connections as well as opening up business opportunities in new markets and business fields not only in the Asia Pacific region but around the world,” he concluded.


Cutting-edge science: Raising health and well-being through innovative specialty drugs

Kyowa Kirin continues to provide a rich portfolio of products in four therapeutic areas to improve quality of life.

In the perpetual race to discover new treatments and products for human health and wellbeing, the impact of technological innovation and advancements in the pharmaceutical industry has become more crucial in addressing patients’ unmet medical needs.

Such innovations have become more significant in this age, creating growth for companies in uncertain times and making positive contributions to human health and community welfare.

This is what Japan-based global specialty pharma group Kyowa Kirin strives to do: leverage innovation for the health and well-being of people around the world by creating new value through the pursuit of advances in life sciences and technologies.

Kyowa Kirin’s advanced research and development system applies cutting-edge biotechnology to engineer antibodies for drug discovery across four therapeutic areas: nephrology, oncology, immunology and allergy, and central nervous system.

“These therapeutic areas represent the quality and diversity of decades-long research – particularly in biotechnology platforms and small-molecule capabilities – by the two Japanese bio-pharmaceutical pioneers who merged to form Kyowa Kirin in 2008,” said Dr. Tan Boon Heon, President, Kyowa Kirin Asia Pacific.

Dr. Tan added that these assets, including the success of its ground-breaking partnership with Amgen since the 1980s, have led to the rich product portfolio Kyowa Kirin has today. “We continue to develop new products in these and other therapeutic areas relevant to our platform technologies,” he said.

In its regard for innovation as one of its core philosophies, Kyowa Kirin leverages this value in the organisation by constantly evolving alongside its customers and stakeholders.

“As a company committed to delivering the results of our technology to the people that most need them, we expect our colleagues to question the status quo in whatever we do. Kyowa Kirin recently began its transformation into a global company. We have been able to build on international best practices by enlisting the collective know-how of colleagues with diverse backgrounds in decision-making,” Dr. Tan said.

Kyowa Kirin’s heritage of innovation traces back to its earliest days as part of the Kirin Group, which has applied fermentation and brewing methods in food and beverage production since 1907. The group went on to develop the world’s first L-glutamic acid production technology and achieved further success in the invention of amino acid fermentation during the 1950s and 1960s. It also pioneered recombinant DNA technology in its joint venture with Amgen.

Kyowa Kirin’s research institutes have since developed breakthrough monoclonal antibody technologies such as POTELLIGENT®, which is the basis for its recent product POTELIGEO®. This humanised monoclonal antibody targets CC chemokine receptor 4.

Similarly, CRYSVITA®, another output of the company’s monoclonal antibody research and a recombinant fully human monoclonal lgG1 antibody against the phosphaturic hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), is being progressively launched around the world.

With the pandemic highlighting concerns on drug supply shortages, Kyowa Kirin mitigated this problem by working with partners to ensure supply chain integrity, bearing additional costs to secure safety stocks or utilising alternate supply routes.

Minimising risk for employees

For Kyowa Kirin, the best results come from its people. Hence, when the pandemic hit, the company focused on securing employees’ safety whilst ensuring continuous drug supply for patients.

According to Dr. Tan, the company “prioritised employee safety and well-being by adopting flexible work policies and work-from-home arrangements, as well as extending mental health resources to employees and their families,” thus earning employee goodwill.

These initiatives and Kyowa Kirin’s regard for its employees have brought the company recognition and contributed to its winning two SBR Management Excellence Awards in 2020. Kyowa Kirin brought home the trophies for Employee Engagement of the Year and COVID Management Initiative of the Year in the Pharmaceuticals category in the prestigious awards programme.

The company aims to go above and beyond as it further strives for innovation. Its vision is to become a best-in-class global specialty pharmaceutical company in its therapeutic areas and partner of choice for specialty drug commercialisation.

“We continue to build on our market- leading positions in nephrology and haemato-oncology by launching new products in these areas and venturing into the rare disease segment with our latest product offerings. We believe we can achieve more through partnership for access to new channels or collaboration on complementary products and technologies. More importantly, our pipeline of new products will make Kyowa Kirin an exciting place for employees to develop and grow their careers,” Dr Tan highlighted.

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