There’s a new king in the domestic drug industry after hopes for a coronavirus treatment helped turbocharge its shares.

Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., the nation's leading oncology company, is the best performer on the Nikkei 225 this year, up almost 60 percent versus the 2.4 percent drop in the broader index. The surge has brought its market value neck-and-neck with that of electronics giant Sony Corp. to make it the seventh-largest company in the country.

Having lagged larger rivals for years, it’s now Japan's biggest drug company by market value, overtaking Daiichi Sankyo Co. late in 2019 and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. earlier this year. Chugai is a unit of Switzerland’s Roche Holding AG, which holds an almost 60 percent stake.