Japanese drugmaker Eisai is planning to double the production capacity for its two top-selling drugs by 2004 with an investment of ¥9 billion (€65m). Work has already started on a new five-storey production facility at the company's plant in Ibaraki Prefecture and the facility is set to open at the end of next year, according to a report in Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper.
The two products are the proton pump inhibitor Pariet (rabeprazole) for gastrointestinal ulcers and Aricept (donepezil) for Alzheimer's disease. Eisai is expecting sales of these agents to rise to ¥220 billion and ¥180 billion, respectively, in fiscal 2006. For the fiscal year ended 31 March, Eisai reported Pariet sales of ¥117 billion, while Aricept brought in ¥115 billion.
Meantime, in order to accelerate the development of new products, Eisai will also install production lines to manufacture drugs for clinical trials. The company expects to see a decrease in production time of 33 to 50 per cent by handling in-house some of the work that has traditionally been outsourced.