By leveraging the ability to produce amino acids and other products that draw on the Group’s leading edge bioscience and fine chemical technologies, the ability to proactively respond to regulations, and the ability to provide comprehensive services, the Ajinomoto Group offers a diverse range of distinctive materials, pharmaceutical ingredients, and technologies to companies around the world for their pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and toiletries.

Going forward, the Group will improve the quality of life for consumers and offer support for more comfortable lifestyles by applying the expertise in the functions and usefulness of amino acids, as well as the ability to discover new applications for those functions, to develop “Foods with Functional Claims” and amino acid supplements.

Amino Acids for Pharmaceuticals and Foods

Origin, History, and Development

Progress in research into uses for amino acids led the Ajinomoto Group to begin manufacturing essential amino acid crystals and supplying them as raw materials for infusions in the 1950s, marking the start of this business. The Group then began supplying raw materials for foods for people with illnesses, and expanded its business into enteral nutrition and other products in the field of clinical nutrition. In the 1980s, the Group began local production in the United States, and also stepped up manufacturing in Japan and other countries.

Also in the 1980s, the Group created Japan’s first serum-free culture medium, and began sales of animal cell culture media. In 2012, we established Ajinomoto Genexine Co., Ltd., a joint venture with Genexine Co., Ltd. of South Korea, to conduct product development for global customers.

Since the 2000s, the market for amino acids for beverages, health foods and supplements has expanded rapidly. Under these conditions, in 2017 the Group made a full-scale entry into the medical foods market by making U.S. company Cambrooke Therapeutics, Inc. a subsidiary.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years

As a result of recent progress in the fields of biopharmaceuticals and regenerative medicine, the functions of amino acids are being utilized in a wider range of contexts.

Against this backdrop, in 2016 we developed StemFit® cell culture medium for iPS and ES cells, which are attracting attention in the field of regenerative medicine. In 2017, we also established a joint venture with Kohjin Bio Co., Ltd. to facilitate expansion into growth areas.

Pharmaceutical Custom Manufacturing

Origin, History, and Development

The pharmaceutical custom manufacturing business provides manufacturing and development services for pharmaceutical intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to pharmaceutical companies. We started this business in the 1980s with the development of a contract business for amino acid derivatives. It is a field in which the Ajinomoto Group can utilize the fermentation and synthesis technologies it has honed through the manufacture of amino acids and nucleotides. Later in the 1980s, we acquired S.A. OmniChem N.V. of Belgium and we have since been providing manufacturing services for pharmaceutical intermediates, APIs and high-potency APIs (HPAPIs), mainly for customers in the United States and Europe.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years

In recent years, expectations have been rising for growth of the biopharmaceuticals market and the new markets of oligonucleotide drugs and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs).

Under these conditions, the Ajinomoto Group acquired Althea Technologies, Inc., a U.S.-based biopharmaceuticals contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). In fiscal 2019, the Group will also begin a contract manufacturing business for ADCs to generate synergy with the Corynex® business, its proprietary protein expression platform.

The Group is also conducting business in the field of oligonucleotide drugs using its proprietary AJIPHASE® manufacturing technology for oligonucleotides, their principal component. In 2016, the Group acquired GeneDesign, Inc., a leading Japanese CDMO for oligonucleotides, and we intend to strengthen our operations in this field.

Moreover, in October 2018 we integrated our businesses in the United States and Europe to create a global supply system under the new name Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services. We intend to successively integrate our businesses in Japan to achieve continuous growth.

Sports Nutrition

Origin, History, and Development

To maintain our competitive advantage in the amino acids business, we decided in the 1990s to expand from the bulk business to encompass retail. Having shipped bulk products for health-related businesses, we focused on health supplements and entered the business with the launch of amino VITAL® PRO, a powdered supplement for athletes. Since then, we have broadened our target to include general consumers and scaled up product development. We have also expanded overseas, with sales currently in various countries including South Korea, Singapore, Russia and Brazil.

In addition to powdered products, our wide lineup includes protein products and jelly products.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years

In the sports supplement market, sales of powdered, protein and jelly products are all growing. Efforts to expand the market include the promotion of amino VITAL® PRO as well as the launch of new products tailored to sports demand such as powdered amino VITAL® GOLD and protein product amino VITAL® Amino Protein. Furthermore, our efforts to encourage new types of usage patterns include the launch of amino VITAL® amino shot®, a jelly product with outstanding portability that can be conveniently ingested during exercise.

Direct Marketing

Origin, History, and Development

To maintain our competitive advantage in the amino acids business, we also expanded from bulk to retail in the personal care products market in the 1990s. We started the business with the rollout of our own cosmetics brand, JINO®, available only by mail order.

In the area of fundamental foods, in 2005 the Group launched Glyna®, a supplement that contains the amino acid glycine, and in 2013 launched Amino Aile®, which helps seniors live longer and healthier lives.

In 2015, the labeling system for food with functional claims (FFC) was introduced and we enhanced our FFC lineup with the launches of Capsi EX®, a supplement to improve base metabolism, and Mai Asa Histidine®, a supplement that reduces fatigue and promotes alertness, in addition to mainstay products Glyna® and Amino Aile®.

Since 2017, we have been working to strengthen sales of conventional food products through our direct marketing channel as the third pillar of our operations after personal care products and fundamental foods.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years

In the direct marketing industry in Japan, both the health foods and personal care products categories are steadily growing. On the other hand, competition is intensifying, so we are differentiating our products based on the Ajinomoto Group’s unique specialty in areas such as manufacturing methods and evidence.

Personal Care Ingredients

Origin, History, and Development

The Ajinomoto Group entered the business with the launches of Ajidew® humectants in 1971 and Amisoft® surfactants in 1972. The base material for these products is monosodium glutamate (MSG) made with a fermentation method that uses plant-based raw materials. Since then, those products have been used as ingredients in a wide range of cosmetics and toiletries that follow the concept of being environmentally friendly and mild to skin, thus opening up the new field of amino acid-based personal care ingredients.

Thereafter, we launched personal care ingredients made from various amino acids as base materials. Today we also conduct OEM production of personal care products through AJINOMOTO HEALTHY SUPPLY CO., INC.

Market Changes and Response in Recent Years

In recent years, our concept of environmentally friendly ingredients has gained acceptance worldwide, and sales are growing steadily in Japan and overseas.
With regard to global supply, in addition to existing production in Brazil, in 2014 we began production in Indonesia. Furthermore, in 2017 and 2018, we increased production of amino acid surfactants in Japan.