Astellas Pharma has opened three new research laboratories at the Miyukigaoka branch of its Tsukuba Research Centre, making the site “one of the largest drug discovery centres in Japan”.

The laboratories are supplemented by a new office building that connects with all of Astellas’ research facilities in Miyukigaoka, as well as a welfare facilities building with conference rooms and a cafeteria, the company noted. That adds a total floor space of around 85,000sq m, giving Astellas a cumulative 140,000 sq m at the site.

The company operates a network of eight research laboratories geared to the “continuous invention of global products”, with the Tsukuba Research Centre (Miyukigaoka and Tokodai branches), the Tokyo Research Centre and the Kasima R&D Center in Osaka serving as the hub for drug discovery and R&D in Japan.

Now that the building project in Miyukigaoka is finished, though, Astellas plans to consolidate its drug discovery research laboratories, including Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, Chemistry, Analysis & Pharmacokinetics, and Applied Pharmacology, at the Miyukigaoka site by April 2009.

Together with the Fermentation Research Laboratories in Tokodai, these facilities will play a central role in the company’s drug discovery research, Astellas said.

The company’s drug development facilities, including its Drug Metabolism Research Laboratories and Drug Safety Research Laboratories, will be grouped at the Kashima R&D Centre in Osaka. The Tokyo Research Centre will be closed down.

Construction started on the new buildings at the Miyukigaoka site in March 2007 and Astellas completed the project last month, at a total cost of around 30 billion yen (€0.20 billion).