HATFIELD, England, November 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Eisai, a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company, today opened a new facility at its EMEA Knowledge Centre in Hatfield to handle the packaging of its investigational compound lenvatinib, for the treatment of advanced thyroid cancer. This represents a foreign direct investment of more than £8 million into the UK by the Japanese company.
Housing innovative hybrid packaging lines at the cutting edge of technology, the facility is specifically designed to cope with highly potent, difficult-to-handle compounds. The new two storey 2,900m2 facility expands the current Hatfield site by nearly 40% and reflects Eisai's commitment to a long-term global business structure in which the UK is a key hub. The Hatfield site hosts the company's EMEA headquarters and serves as a global supply centre of excellence for key products.
"Pharmaceuticals manufacturing is important to our economy, with more than £22 billion worth of exports in 2013 and a positive trade balance of just over £2 billion. Eisai's investment in this new facility will help grow these figures and is another vote of confidence for the UK's world-class life sciences sector," commented George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences.
"The Government continues in its commitment to ensure that the UK life sciences sector is innovative and flexible, through new measures announced last week such as the Innovative Medicines and MedTech Review and the latest round of Biomedical Catalyst funding. We are committed to finding new ways to improve the lives of patients and give companies the confidence to invest and create jobs in the UK," he added.
Eisai has invested more than £150 million in the Hatfield site, representing the largest Japanese pharmaceutical investment in the UK to date. It is home to more than 500 employees, and has the capacity to produce up to 450 million tablets in 10 million packs each year. The new packaging facility will increase employment at the site by 10% and boost the revenues of local businesses and suppliers.
"We are extremely proud of this new development at our EMEA Knowledge Centre. The UK is an ideal location for advanced manufacturing. We are committed to the life sciences industry in this country and it will continue to play a pivotal role in our commercial growth strategy," Mr Haruo Naito, CEO of Eisai Co., Ltd. said.
"This new high tech facility enhances our capability as a centre of packaging excellence for our growing product range," he added. "As we supply products to an increasing number of countries with different languages across the world, our facility needs to cope with an extremely high mix of low-volume packaging for often difficult-to-handle compounds. The new machines were tailor-made and allow for reconfiguration of every product run particular to each national market we supply. Lenvatinib will be packaged exclusively at Hatfield and eventually export to almost 200 countries, contributing positively to the UK balance of trade."
Lenvatinib, discovered and developed by Eisai, was granted orphan drug designation for follicular and papillary thyroid cancer by the European Commission in 2013. Regulatory submissions have been made in the EU, US and Japan. The European Medicines Agency has accepted a request for accelerated approval of lenvatinib for advanced thyroid cancer. Lenvatinib also has the potential to treat other cancers.
Expansion of the Knowledge Centre underscores Eisai's human health care mission, the company's commitment to increasing access to innovative solutions in disease prevention, cure and care for the health and well-being of people worldwide. Eisai is committed to addressing the unmet medical needs of patients and their families.
Notes to Editors:
Eisai and investment in the UK
- Eisai established the £100 million EMEA Knowledge Centre (EKC) in Hatfield, Hertfordshire in June 2009. This site integrates the company's discovery research, clinical development, production, marketing and EMEA headquarters functions with the aim of expanding business operations further in Europe and around the world
- In 2012, the Eisai Hatfield site became the first global, solid dose manufacture supply site outside of Japan for the antiepilepsy drug Fycompa (perampanel)
Eisai and research and development in the UK
Eisai has a long and established history of scientific investment and partnership in the UK:
- Eisai's first investments into UK R&D began 20 years ago with a landmark partnership with the neurosciences department at University College London (UCL), established to undertake world-leading scientific research into neurodegenerative diseases. This partnership continues to this day.
- After entering a new phase in 2011, the company's Neuroscience Product Creation Unit (Neuroscience PCU) and UCL are currently engaging in joint research into neurodegenerative diseases, including biomarker research and drug discovery.
- Eisai is committed to making further contributions to address key unmet medical needs in neurosciences by maintaining and strengthening the relationship built up with UCL, whilst at the same time leveraging the knowledge accumulated over the course of the partnership for the benefit of patients and their families in Europe and beyond.
Eisai in Oncology
Our commitment to meaningful progress in oncology research, built on scientific expertise, is supported by a global capability to conduct discovery and preclinical research, and develop small molecules, therapeutic vaccines, and biologic and supportive care agents for cancer across multiple indications.
About Eisai Co., Ltd.
Eisai Co., Ltd. is a leading global research and development-based pharmaceutical company headquartered in Japan. We define our corporate mission as "giving first thought to patients and their families and to increasing the benefits health care provides," which we call our human health care (hhc) philosophy. With over 10,000 employees working across our global network of R&D facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, we strive to realise our hhc philosophy by delivering innovative products in multiple therapeutic areas with high unmet medical needs, including Oncology and Neurology.
As a global pharmaceutical company, our mission extends to patients around the world through our investment and participation in partnership-based initiatives to improve access to medicines in developing and emerging countries.
For more information about Eisai Co., Ltd., please visit http://www.eisai.com