Drug Discovery in Japan

Investigating the Sources of Innovation

  • Sadao┬áNagaoka

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Sadao Nagaoka
    Pages 1-13
  3. Sadao Nagaoka, Yasushi Hara
    Pages 15-34
  4. Yasushi Hara, Sadao Nagaoka
    Pages 35-49
  5. Yasushi Hara, Sadao Nagaoka, Koichi Genda
    Pages 51-63
  6. Naoki Takada, Hideo Kawabe
    Pages 65-84
  7. Yasushi Hara, Yuji Honjo
    Pages 85-110
  8. Yasushi Hara, Akira Nagumo, Hajime Oda
    Pages 111-125
  9. Kenta Nakamura
    Pages 127-146
  10. Kenta Nakamura
    Pages 147-167
  11. Naoki Takada, Koichi Genda
    Pages 169-181
  12. Yasushi Hara, Hideo Kawabe
    Pages 183-205
  13. Naoki Takada, Koichi Genda, Akira Nagumo
    Pages 207-222
  14. Yasushi Hara, Yoshiyuki Ohsugi, Sadao Nagaoka
    Pages 223-254
  15. Yasushi Hara, Sadao Nagaoka
    Pages 255-283
  16. Back Matter
    Pages 331-333

About this book


This book analyzes the drug-discovery process in Japan, based on detailed case studies of 12 groups of 15 innovative drugs. It covers the first statin in the world up to the recent major breakthrough in cancer therapy, the recent immune checkpoint inhibitor, the scientific discovery for  which a 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Prof. Tasuku Honjo, Kyoto University. The book shows the pervasive high uncertainty in drug discovery: frequent occurrences of unexpected difficulties, discontinuations, serendipities, and good luck, significantly because drug discovery starts when the underlying science is incomplete. Thus, there exist dynamic interactions between scientific progress and drug discovery. High uncertainty also makes the value of an entrepreneurial scientist high. Such scientists fill the knowledge gaps by absorbing external scientific progress and by relentless pursuit of possibilities through their own research, often including unauthorized research, to overcome crises. Further, high uncertainty and its resolution significantly characterize the evolution of competition in the drug industry. The patent system promotes innovation under high uncertainty not only by enhancing appropriability of R&D investment but also by facilitating the combination of knowledge and capabilities among different firms through disclosure. Understanding such a process significantly benefits the creation of innovation management and policy practices.


Drug discovery breakthrough uncertainty delegated initiative competition Statin Opdivo

Editors and affiliations

  • Sadao┬áNagaoka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsTokyo Keizai UniversityKokubunjiJapan

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking