November 4, 2014
Fujifilm Getting into Ebola Fight
Ebola is hot international news, and billions are on the edge of their seats, waiting to see when a successful treatment will be released, followed hopefully, by an effective vaccine. President Obama has called the West African Ebola outbreak a “threat to regional and global security” and has pledged the United States help in combating the disease and stemming its spread. China, Britain, Japan and other international powers are also mobilizing forces to combat the epidemic.
Three pharmaceutical companies are hard at work developing treatments and vaccines. Now the battle has what some may call an unlikely ally.
International tech giant Fujifilm has jumped into the battle against Ebola…and the company is already making a huge impact.
Fujifilm has manufactured an experimental treatment drug called Avigan, an antiviral medication that many believe could be a breakthrough in Ebola treatment. That name may seem strange to Monday morning quarterbacks across the globe, but not to those who have their fingers on the pulse of Japanese economics. With one of the highest percentages of elderly in the developed world, Japan has focused much of its commercial research and development on medications, cosmetics and other ways to help people age gracefully – and pain free. Back in 2006, Fujifilm branched out into OTC medications and cosmetics in an effort to catch a piece of that market. As they have in previous endeavors, the company has succeeded in a big way.
In 2008 the company bought Toyama Chemical, the drug company behind Avigan. Now, some are reporting that Fujifilm is literally giving the drug away. The company has already paid for development, and Fuji can certainly afford it, but the move still has people turning heads and raising eyebrows. A successful Ebola treatment could mean an incredible windfall. Why give it away?
First, there’s the public relations opportunities. Fujifilm is not one of the first names you think of in the world of pharmaceuticals. Now the company is being listed as one of the Big Four working to combat the most feared virus in the world. Second, if any windfall is to come in the Ebola fight (and it will), the first to arrive at the party has a big advantage. Well, Avigan is pretty much ready to go, already produced for mass marketing, poised and ready for battle. Finally, success in this endeavor will forever change Fujifilm’s brand, and it will do so GLOBALLY in a single endeavor. Talk about a rebranding campaign!