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MP: Daiichi Sankyo's expansion is endorsement of UK life sciences

Pharma company enlarges its UK early-stage development base

Daiichi Sankyo George Freeman Sabine Bernotat Danielowski Dr Simon Clough

Pictured (l-r): George Freeman MP, Cheryl Gillan MP, Sabine Bernotat Danielowski Daiichi Sankyo's head of European drug development and UK general manager Dr Simon Clough

Daiichi Sankyo's decision to expand its UK early-stage development unit is “a telling endorsement” of the country's health research infrastructure, according to George Freeman MP.

Freeman, who is life sciences adviser to universities and science minister David Willets, was opening the new Daiichi building at its UK headquarters in Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire.

He said: “The fact that an international company chooses to invest in the UK is a telling endorsement of the calibre of the health research infrastructure we have here and the people working in it.

“Britain wants to be a major partner in the production of tomorrow's medicines – and this expanded unit is an important step on that journey.”

The new building and its expanded drug development unit will see Daiichi make Gerrards Cross the European centre of its early stage human studies into the safety and efficacy of new medicines.

The unit will organise phase I studies and assist in phase II and phase III trials, working on potential new treatments for conditions such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and pain.

Freeman said: “It is a truism that when people are well they rarely think of illness, but it is salutary from time to time to remind ourselves that the awful diseases of the past didn't just vanish – they were beaten.

“They were beaten by improving social conditions, and an effective health service with caring staff – but they were also beaten by new medicines.”

He cited the contribution the pharmaceutical industry's drugs had made in polio, ulcer treatment and AIDS.

But he added: “There are still many illnesses today that we cannot cure, including cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's, so the medicines of the future are crucial to the well being of our citizens.”

Commenting on his company's UK expansion, Dr Simon Clough, UK general manager for Daiichi Sankyo, said that in addition to its medical value, the new unit would also contribute to the local economy.

“Tokyo is nearly 6,000 miles from Gerrards Cross, but the eyes of the most senior people in our company are looking at what we do here. It is a ringing endorsement of the work we do in Gerrards Cross and the UK as a whole.

“It makes me immensely proud to be an essential part of the process of bringing potentially new solutions to the health problems of the world.“

The combined facility at Gerrards Cross of the expanded drug development unit and Daiichi Sankyo UK Headquarters will now provide jobs for over 120 staff with an overall combined annual budget of £30m.

5th December 2012

From: Research

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