Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai will set up a joint venture with Chinese e-commerce group JD.com to launch an online medical services business focusing on dementia in China early next year, Nikkei has learned.
JD.com will have a 51% stake in the joint venture, with Eisai taking the rest. The Japanese drugmaker hopes to develop new dementia drugs targeted for China’s growing number of elderly people, based on big medical data that it expects to gather from the new service.
The joint venture will have a website where users can communicate with dementia specialists about their symptoms and treatment methods. The platform will target elderly people who have symptoms of forgetfulness or anxiety due to dementia. The company aims to have a pool of about 2,000 dementia specialists, and expects between 1 million to 1.5 million users to be registered on the site in three years.
The online platform and the app will also sell pharmaceuticals, with a video communication function for online medical care.
Specialists working at medical institutions will provide advice to users of the service, such as diagnosis and suggestions for lifestyle improvement.
Eisai aims to develop new dementia therapeutic agents for the Chinese market by analyzing the data obtained from medical treatment using artificial intelligence and other cutting edge technologies, and drawing on its long experience of developing dementia drugs. It also plans to identify the lifestyle choices that can result in the disease from the data.
Eisai is known as the developer of Aricept, or donepezil, a large-scale treatment for Alzheimer’s dementia, with sales worth more than JPY 100 billion (USD 961 million).