The first step as a medical appliance manufacturer
In other countries, research in kidney disease treatment has been conducted for about 100 years, but various problems occur at the stage of clinical application and kidney failure and it was regarded as an incurable disease. However, in 1950, dialysis conducted at a field hospital during the Korean War reduced the mortality rate from 90% to 50%. This attracted the world's attention and dialysis was suddenly regarded as a breakthrough therapy for acute kidney injury.
Around that time, we received a request for distributorship of the dialysis machine “model A” from U.S. company Milton Roy (hereinafter referred to as MR), a pump business partner. Since we engaged in the development of artificial hearts several years prior and were highly interested in the field of artificial organs that serve as a bridge between “medical science and engineering”, we regarded this as a major business opportunity. By signing a contract as the sole agent for dialysis machines in Japan with MR, we made a full-scale entry into the medical business field.
Changeover from import to domestic production - Giving top priority to the lives of patients
In 1967, we delivered MR's dialysis machines to the hospitals of Hiroshima University and Niigata University, which marked the first step for dialytic therapy in Japan. Sales of the products were excellent, but it was difficult to quickly deal with failures, which is a common problem of imports.
Giving top priority to the lives of patients, we decided to pursue domestic production in an effort to improve the safety and reliability of dialysis machines. In technical cooperation with MR, in 1969, the first domestic dialysis machine “model BN”, which was developed completely in-house, received approval from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (at that time). After delivering the first machine to Shinrakuen Hospital in Niigata, we received nine orders within a month, and the domestic production of dialysis machines got off to a flying start. Being less liable to break down, the model BN was highly rated by the medical field.
Ever-increasing heavy social responsibility as a pioneer in dialysis machines
There was an unforgettable experience for Keijiro Oto, the founder of Nikkiso, which achieved the domestic production of dialysis machines. When he first visited a dialytic therapy site, a young man in his mid-twenties with a very short time to live due to acute kidney injury was lying in bed. His parents were beside the bed joined their hands in prayer to the doctor, and also to Oto, who was introduced as the developer of the dialysis machine.
This experience helped Oto reaffirm the heavy responsibility of those engaging in medical care and moved him to start education and training for not only Nikkiso's employees but also medical service workers handling the machines in the medical field. When he established the Shizuoka Plant (currently the Research & Engineering Institute) in later years, he built an education center on the property, promoting coordination with the medical care field through the education and support of medical service workers.