Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai is planning to invest around Y15 billion (€116m) upgrading its manufacturing facilities for drugs over the couple of years in order to boost production of some of its top products around 50 per cent by the end of March 2006.
This extends an initial promise to invest Y9 billion on manufacturing capacity, made in the summer.
The company said in a statement that the primary reason for the move is to maintain a consistent supply of its two best-selling drugs, the gastrointestinal agent Pariet/Aciphex (rabeprazole sodium) and Aricept (donepezil) for Alzheimer's disease, which are experiencing strong sales growth, particularly in markets outside Japan.
In the third quarter, sales of Aricept climbed to Y68.6 billion, an increase of 27 per cent year-on-year, while those of Aciphex/Pariet increased 12 per cent to Y63.9 billion. Taken together, these two products accounted for more than half of the company's total turnover of Y248 billion, but Eisai expects this proportion to increase to two thirds in the fiscal year ending March 2007.
As part of the program, Eisai said it is expanding production facilities at the Kashima plant in Japan as well as at its facilities in North Carolina, US. Y13.3 billion will be spent at Kashima, where the bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for both drugs are made, and at the production lines for the finished products at its Misato unit. The balance will be spent on installing new manufacturing lines in North Carolina.