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Japan’s Astellas Pharma has started construction of a $58 million fermentation unit in Toyama, in western Japan. The new unit will be able to produce multiple types of active drug ingredients for use in clinical trials and will also support the company’s process development efforts. The firm has several drug candidates at the preclinical stage that have been obtained at least partly through fermentation of natural substances. Simultaneously, Astellas says it will restructure its R&D activities and transfer drug discovery work from its fermentation research center to its pharmacology and molecular medicine labs. It plans to construct a new fermentation research building in Tsukuba by the end of 2011 and will create a bioimaging research lab, also in Tsukuba.
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