February 22, 2023 - Astellas Pharma Inc. (Headquarters: Tokyo; President and CEO: Kenji Yasukawa), The Mitsubishi Chemical Group, and CKD Corporation (Headquarters: Komaki, Aichi; President: Katsuhito Okuoka) won the Minister of Environment Award of the 5th Japan Open Innovation Prize (sponsored by the Cabinet Office) for "Practical Use of Environmentally Friendly Biomass-based Plastic for Blister Packages."
1. About Japan Open Innovation Prize and Minister of Environment Award1,2
Aiming to promote open innovation in Japan, the prize recognizes highly advanced and creative initiatives that are expected as future role models. Open innovation initiatives that are exemplary, have a large social impact, and are sustainable receive awards. The Minister of the Environment Award is given to individuals or groups recognized for their outstanding efforts from the perspective of global environmental conservation, pollution prevention, protection and maintenance of the natural environment, and other environmental conservation efforts.
2. Project Overview
The Mitsubishi Chemical Group developed a blister package material using more than 50% plant-derived raw material while maintaining the conventional performance; Astellas and CKD investigated optimal manufacturing conditions to meet requirements for tablet protection performance and usability. These efforts led to the world's first practical application of the biomass-derived plastic blister packaging for a pharmaceutical product.3,4
By using this plant-derived biomass-based plastic instead of traditional petroleum-derived plastic in blister packages, CO2 emission can be reduced by about 40-60% compared to the conventional amount.
3. Key factors recognized
The primary factor was the collaboration of the three companies from different industries to develop and put the technology into practical use. Other factors included an open innovation initiative for excellent commercialization of bioplastics and expectation for the pharmaceutical industry to raise awareness for lowering environmental impacts and expand such efforts.
Photos of the Award Ceremony
1: Japan Open Innovation Prize website, https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/openinnovation/prize/
2: Ministry of the Environment website, https://www.env.go.jp/press/press_01179.html *Japanese only
3: Astellas press release dated October 11, 2021, “World's First Use of Environmentally Friendly Biomass-based Plastic for Blister Packages, the Primary Packaging for Drugs,”
4: The Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation press release dated November 1, 2021, "Adoption of Moisture-Proof Sheets for Capsule and Tablet Packaging Made from Plants,”
https://www.m-chemical.co.jp/news/2021/1212624_7471.html *Japanese only
Click below for a copy of the full press release