Japan’s medical device market set to reach US$74.7bn in 2025 making it an attractive space for investment, says GlobalData

The Japanese medical device market to reach from US$54.5bn in 2018 to US$74.7bn in 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Japan stands as the world’s second-biggest medical device market, after the US. GlobalData’s latest report ‘CountryFocus: Healthcare, Regulatory and Reimbursement Landscape – Japan’, discovers that a conducive environment for improved medical products and new technological innovation for better healthcare, make Japan more open and attractive place for healthcare investment.

Renuka Sreeramoju, Medical Device Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The rapidly aging Japanese population, increasing number of patients with chronic and life-style diseases, universal health insurance coverage and regulatory measures are driving the Japanese medical device market. Even though the increasing elderly population provides a unique business opportunity for many international medical device companies to innovate new products, foreign investment into the untapped Japanese market was due to lack of knowledge on domestic companies.”

Against this backdrop, the Japanese government has taken new initiatives to streamline the regulatory approval review process and accelerate the launch of innovative medical products. In addition, various steps taken by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) to improve the transparency of the approval review system substantially to accomplish a quick review process, which is equivalent to, or faster than that of North American and European markets. The government also introduced ‘Medical Information Database’ to provide access to medical records for the innovators, which has led to quicker medical device development and faster patient access.

The changes to the regulatory review system resulted in increasing the number of partnerships, licensing deals and research collaborations among the medical device companies in Japan. For example, German-based KARL STORZ partnered with Medicaroid Corporation to develop robotic assisted surgery systems and Fujirebio and US-based Janssen Pharmaceuticals collaborated to develop AMYLOID β 42/40 RATIO immunoassay for Alzheimer’s dementia. FUJIFILM Corporation collaborated with Indiana University School of Medicine to develop artificial intelligence (AI) application in medical imaging diagnostic support systems.

Besides traditional healthcare companies, Cyberdyne (Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) robotic exoskeleton unit), Cyfuse (3-D tissue fabrication system) and CureApp (medical-care applications for smartphones) are some of the medical device start-ups established in Japan which are expected to improve the healthcare outcome and patient’s experience.

Sreeramoju concludes: “Favorable regulatory landscape, aging demographics, better access to medical data, innovative research and development, and increasing international collaborations will not only attract medical device start-ups, but also encourage AI and other technological start-ups to invest in healthcare sector in Japan.”

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