In Fight Against Virus, Yagisawa Finds a Use for Company’s Immune-Boosting Product
All too often, stress can lead to poor dietary choices.
“This is a time to remind ourselves to keep healthy,” says Tomomasa Yagisawa (MBA ’04), a senior manager of the health science department at Kirin Holdings. The world-renowned beverage, food, and pharmaceuticals company is based in Japan and has been delivering goods and services since 1885.
For years, Yagisawa and his team have been working on a food ingredient, LC–Plasma, that has shown to have benefits in boosting the immune system. Kirin has launched numerous products made with LC–Plasma, including beverages, yogurt, and dietary supplements throughout Japan and Vietnam.
With news of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, the team immediately sought to translate the existing scientific research on LC–Plasma into the Chinese language. A Chinese website was launched within weeks, and within two months, a commerce agreement was reached to get an LC-Plasma product to China.
“We’ve been working hard to contribute in any way we can to the worst situation that the world is facing,” says Tomomasa Yagisawa.
In February, the virus hit closer to home. The Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at the port of Yokohama, Japan—and was immediately quarantined.
Yagisawa’s team engaged with the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases and the Japanese Society for Infection Prevention and Control. With strong recommendations from the authorities, Kirin donated 3,000 bottles of a beverage-type LC-Plasma to the ship’s passengers and 400 to the crew.
LC-Plasma, though not a COVID-19 treatment, has definitely had an effect: A thank-you letter from the cruise ship management company stressed that the donation not only supported overall health of those onboard but also eased the minds of those on the COVID-19 front lines.
“We know it’s not a cure, but we’ve been working hard to contribute in any way we can to the worst situation that the world is facing,” Yagisawa says.
His team is now donating LC-Plasma products to hospitals in Japan, with hopes to get products to the United States in the near future.
Yagisawa’s primary motivation for these actions—a focus on social responsibility over monetary gain—stems from his time at CGU.
“That’s what Peter Drucker preached,” he said. “Profit will follow if the customers value the business first. I owe that mindset to CGU: realizing the happiness of individuals and the functioning of society at the same time.”