Eisai establishes new machinery subsidiary in China
hoping to increase both its sales and manufacturing support
presence in China.
EMS, which was set up with working capital of $200,000 by the Japanese company's Chinese Eisai Machinery Co division, will provide marketing support and maintenance services for a range of pharmaceutical production machines sold by EMC. Kazuo Aoshima, an Eisai corporate communications spokesman, told in-PharmaTechnologist.com that the firm had chosen the site because "the geographical advantage of Shanghai will allow us good access to our customers all over China." He added that with the new unit Eisai is aiming to capitalize on China's booming pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. In the last few years, Shanghai has developed as one of China's drug manufacturing hubs with the city's Zhanjiang High Tech business park attracting both local and international firms. Pfizer, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline have all established units in the area, while numerous other pharmaceutical firms such as Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk have been drawn in by the region's thriving contract manufacturing sector. EMS to support AIM system EMS' primary function will be to provide support for users of Eisai's Automatic Inspection Machine (AIM). The AIM system, which is manufactured by Eisai Machinery Co and has been distributed in various forms since 1975, provides drug producers with an automated means of conducting the particulate inspection of ampoules and vials during extended production runs. Aoshima commented that: "a total of 880 AIMs have been sold to our customers around the world including two … in China," adding that the firm has "received orders for five machines in China." He went on to say that EMS will also begin marketing inspection machines for pharmaceutical manufacturers producing infusion-based drugs and freeze-dried pharmaceutical formulations in the next few years. Aoshima explained that: "in July 2005, the regulation in China regarding pharmaceutical inspection changed [to] allow pharmaceutical companies to do the inspection by machine. Previously, the Chinese regulation required [that] companies to do the inspection with human eyes." He added that the "regulatory changes have opened an opportunity for growth [in] the pharmaceutical machinery market and we think it will keep increasing rapidly for the next few years." The increased use of automation has been a feature of the Chinese drug manufacturing industry in recent years. For example, in April this year Shanghai CP Guojian Pharmaceutical announced that it has hired US engineering firm Emerson to automate its new monoclonal antibody (mAb) active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production facility.