Eisai plans to open Indian API plant by 2011

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Active pharmaceutical ingredients, Pharmacology

India’s reputation as a base for quality, low-cost drug manufacture has proved irresistible for yet another big pharma company with Japan’s Eisai unveiling plans for a new production and R&D facility.

Eisai has chosen the Southern port city of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh as the location for its new plant, which will formulate finished drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).

Construction of the $125m (€97m) facility, which began earlier this year, is expected to be completed early in 2011.

The Japanese drugmaker first entered the Indian drug sector in 2004 when it set up a marketing subsidiary. Eisai hopes that the additional capacity provided by the new Visahapatam plant will allow it to access emerging drug markets in Asia, Africa and Russia.

The move is part of Eisai’s “Dramatic Leap” plan to focus on selecting prime locations for its global operations. The company is paying particular attention to India, building what it describes as “strategic information dissemination bases” to create a manufacturing hub.

India’s outsourcing sector, the country’s other strong suit in drug industry terms, has also attracted Eisai interest. In March this year the firm signed a deal to farm out clinical data management to an Accenture site in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Asian expansion includes China

In addition to ramping up its Indian operations Eisai has ploughed considerable funds into developing and diversifying its presence in China, Asia’s other drug production hub.

In May, the firm set up its Eisai Machinery Shanghai (EMS) subsidiary to produce a range of pharmaceutical manufacturing platforms for the country’s emerging pharmaceuticals industry.

Commenting at the time Kazuo Aoshima, an Eisai corporate communications spokesman, said that the firm had chosen the site because "the geographical advantage of Shanghai will allow us good access to our customers all over China.​"

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