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Japan’s Nipro pumps $1bn into doubling output of artificial kidneys

Japan’s Nipro pumps $1bn into doubling output of artificial kidneys

OSAKA — Japanese medical device manufacturer Nipro has decided to spend more than 100 billion yen ($958 million) to step up global production of artificial kidneys used in dialysis machines, expecting a steady rise in the number of people worldwide with diabetes.

The investment, which run through fiscal 2026, will go mainly toward factories in Vietnam and the home market. Total output capacity will double to 12 million units a month.

This expansion will support Nipro’s plans to boost dialyzer sales in emerging countries, where diabetes patients have increased with economic growth.

Nipro will spend 36 billion yen at a medical device factory in Vietnam to add dialyzer production equipment starting in fiscal 2022. Dialyzer output capacity will gradually rise to 3 million a month. The plant will serve as a supply hub for Southeast Asia.

In Japan, roughly 50 billion yen will go into expanding capacity at the mainstay Odate plant in Akita Prefecture. The location will churn out between 5.5 million to 6 million units a month by fiscal 2025, up 60% to 70%.

Nipro will boost production in other factories in India and China, lifting monthly global output to 12 million units or more by fiscal 2026 from 5.5 million.

Meanwhile, Nipro plans to increase the dialysis centers it operates in 10 countries to 300 locations from 110 by the end of 2024. The dialysis centers are mostly located in Latin America and Asia.

Nipro will forge stable sales channels by building up its own network of supply recipients.

Dialyzers like this one made by Nipro are used in dialysis machines. (Photo courtesy of Nipro)

Dialyzers made by Nipro are cited for their sophisticated performance in filtration and high biocompatibility. Its sales of the devices grew 11% to 72.1 billion yen during the year ended March, with 70% coming from abroad.

Nipro holds the second-largest global market share in dialyzers, at roughly 20%. It will actively pursue German leader Fresenius Medical Care, whose share comes to around 40%.

Economic development in emerging countries often changes dietary habits and the level of medical care. The number of people receiving treatment for diabetes has risen as a result.

More than 460 million adults live with diabetes worldwide, according to the International Diabetes Federation. Nipro projects the number of dialysis patients to increase at an annual pace of 7%.

“It’s a situation where the more you make, the more you sell,” a Nipro representative said of dialyzers.

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