Global R&D-based pharmaceutical company Eisai has opened a new facility for the packaging of its investigational advanced thyroid cancer-treating compound lenvatinib at its EMEA Knowledge Centre in Hatfield, UK.
Designed to tackle highly potent, difficult-to-handle compounds, the two-storey, 2,900m² facility will expand the company's current site by around 40%.
The new packaging facility is expected to increase employment by 10% and boost the revenues of local businesses and suppliers.
Eisai CEO Haruo Naito said: "This new high-tech facility enhances our capability as a centre of packaging excellence for our growing product range.
"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."
Eisai has, so far, invested around £150m at its Hatfield site, which is considered to be the largest Japanese pharmaceutical investment in the UK.
UK Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman MP said: "Pharmaceuticals manufacturing is important to our economy, with more than £22bn worth of exports in 2013 and a positive trade balance of just more than £2bn.
"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.
"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 offer companies the confidence to invest and create jobs in the UK."
Currently, the company employs nearly 500 people and has the capacity to produce up to 450 million tablets in ten million packs each year.