On March 3, 2011, we posted an article on this blog on the acquisition of Plexxikon by Daiichi Sankyo.
Then on March 11, 2001, came the 9.0-magnitude Tōhoku earthquake, followed by the devastating tsunami, with the loss of thousands of lives, and extensive damage to the infrastructure of Japan. Particularly troubling is the damage to the Fukushima I nuclear power plant, as well as several other nuclear power plants in Japan, and the uncertainty as to current and future effects of these events on Japan and its people. Also devastating is the economic loss due to the earthquake.
I cannot look at our blog post without thinking about the continuing events in Japan. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Japanese people in their hour of need.
According to a March 14 2011 news release, several employees suffered minor injuries, but all are safe. Two Daiichi Sankyo production facilities in Japan have been partly damaged by the earthquake. The company will assess the situation at these plants–especially with respect to employee safety–as power is restored. Several Daiichi Sankyo sales facilities were also affected by the earthquake, and with employee safety as its first priority, the company will work to restore operations.
The acquisition of Plexxikon by Daiichi Sankyo is on schedule to close at the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, Daiichi Sankyo announced that it would donate 100 million Japanese Yen (JPY) (approximately $1.2 million) to the Japanese Red Cross Society, as well as medical supplies, for relief efforts; it has also implemented a matching gift program for employee donations. Takeda will donate 300 million JPY, as well as medical supplies, and Eisai will donate 200 million JPY and will establish a crisis center in the Tōhoku region. Astellas and Chugai are both donating 100 million JPY.
Non-Japanese Big Pharma and Big Biotech companies–Merck, Abbott, Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and Amgen–are each contributing over $1 million to Japanese aid. Many other corporations outside the pharmaceutical industry have pledged donations for Japanese relief.
The Japanese and American Red Cross, as well as many other secular and religious relief agencies, are assessing the situation in Japan and requesting donations.
Meanwhile, the Japanese people are behaving admirably in this crisis. There has been little or no looting or profiteering, and there is a sense of national cooperation. The resilience of the Japanese people, and their engineering skill and experience in rebuilding from previous disasters, will contribute mightily to Japan’s ability to rebound from this devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Addendum, March 27, 2011: See the news article in the 22 March 2011 issue of Nature, entitled “The meltdown that wasn’t”. According to this article, the operators in unit 1 of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station acted competently and courageously in dealing with the effects of the earthquake and tsunami on the reactor on 11 March, 2011. They averted a catastrophic full meltdown of the reactor, and their actions also provided a model for stabilizing the other two reactors at the station.
Radiation exposure due to the Fukushima nuclear accident continues, however, as do the other effects of the earthquake and tsunami on Japan and her people.
For Nature’s full coverage of the continuing story of the Japanese earthquake and nuclear crisis, see http://www.nature.com/news/specials/japanquake/index.html.