THE APATITE COMPANY Sangi Co., Ltd. (pronounced “sun-ghee”) specializes in applications of the calcium phosphate compound hydroxyapatite, the natural, highly biocompatible substance of our teeth and bone.

As pioneers, we are proud to have developed the world’s first remineralizing toothpaste, using Sangi’s own proprietary hydroxyapatite, as early as 1980, and to have launched the world’s first nanotech toothpastes in 2003, by reducing the ingredient size from 3-figure to 2-figure nano-scale. We have gone on to develop a wide range of hydroxyapatites for use in various fields, including drug delivery systems, antimicrobial agents, industrial catalysts, functional foods and cosmetic products, in addition to dental materials.

Sangi takes its name from the three principles (“San-gi”) of Mencius: “The timing of the heavens, the riches of the earth, and the harmony of men.” Our motto is “Unbiased, uninsisting, unconfined” – inspiring us to be always open to new challenges and ideas. And our aim is to support the regenerative powers of people and of nature, to create a healthier, more beautiful world.

Shuji Sakuma

1974   SANGI CO., LTD. established
initially as a trading company in Tokyo
・ Founder & President – Shuji Sakuma
1976   NASA patent for a hydroxyapatite precursor acquired
Late 1970s   ・ Switch in focus to product development
・ First laboratory & first researchers hired
1980s~   Chiefly dental products R&D
1990s~   Research fields extended, to
・Cosmetics & food supplements
・Drug delivery
・Dental device development
2000s~   Overseas business development
・Exports to Russia, Canada, China, South Korea, South East Asia

Product Development Based on Hydroxyapatite

Established as a trading company in 1974, Sangi quickly evolved into a product development firm focused chiefly on the calcium phosphate bioceramic, hydroxyapatite. Today we call ourselves “The Apatite Company.” This arose largely because of a patent from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Authority (NASA), acquired in the course of trading, which drew attention to the restorative potential of this highly biocompatible substance for human teeth and bone. Within the space of a few years, Sangi had begun researching and producing hydroxyapatite, and in 1978, we became the first company in the world to succeed in developing a toothpaste incorporating hydroxyapatite – “the same substance as our teeth” – that could remineralize and restore tooth enamel.

Focus on Design and Development Rather than Manufacturing

By the 1990s, Sangi had moved beyond oral care alone to research a wide range of applications for hydroxyapatite. These include cosmetics, functional foods such as remineralizing chewing gum, drug delivery systems, and industrial catalysts. By design, our company has remained “fabless,” focusing on R&D and entrusting production of all products beyond the pilot plant stage to outside partner companies. Our priority is on turning ideas into products, which we ourselves develop only to prototype or pilot plant stage.

Potential for a Wide Range of Product Lines

As its name, from the Greek απάτη (apato) meaning ‘elusive’ implies, hydroxyapatite is a unique material whose fundamental structure – even if part of the elements that comprise it are removed or replaced by other elements – does not change. This makes it possible, by varying the conditions of synthesis, to produce it in a variety of forms with distinctly different properties suited to a wide range of applications in personal care, medicine and industry, many of which are now being studied and developed actively worldwide. Applications commercialized by Sangi to date are almost entirely in the dental field, with our major source of income being development and sales of toothpastes containing Medical Hydroxyapatite under Sangi’s own brand names – “Apagard”, “Apadent” and “Denta-Apato” – as well as OEM sales. Other business activities include development and sales of specialty hydroxyapatites and anti-bacterial agents, development and sales of toothbrushes, and development and sales of soyabean-based beverages and a range of food additives using hydroxyapatite.

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