The firm said it will invest around JPY1.2bn ($15m) to expand production capacity at is pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture. The plan is to increase aseptic filling capacity to 1,800 vials per hour.
Toyobo also plans to install a new lyophilisation unit at the plant in an expansion project due to begin in January 2013 and to be completed with production operations up and running later that same year.
In a translated press statement Toyobo set out its reasons for the expansion, explaining that changing disease burdens as well as financial and regulatory constraints in the drug industry were key to the decision.
“Along with the increase in adult-onset diseases around the world, the pharmaceutical industry has developed many types of new drugs, focusing around low-molecular weight compounds.
“However, because of the increasing difficulty of developing new pharmaceuticals and the expiration of the patents on major drugs around 2010, pharmaceutical companies are concentrating on developing effective biopharmaceuticals for use in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Looking to the future, the world drug market is forecast to show continued expansion of about 20 per cent annually.
“In view of these various industry trends, Toyobo has made the decision to add another production line for injections to meet expanding demand in the biopharmaceutical market.
The firm added that the investment also reflected the “wealth of experience in the development and production of biopharmaceuticals” it has developed.
Toyobo’s decision to invest in contract drug production capacity fits with comments it made in its report for fiscal 2011.
“Following the revision of Japan’s Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, pharmaceutical companies have shown increasing interest in shifting to the contract manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.
It added that: “Toyobo is engaged in this business and, with its facility for the production of injectable drugs that respond to overseas Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), is receiving many inquiries from customers among pharmaceutical companies."