Astellas Pharma Europe has chosen Chertsey as a new location for its UK and European headquarters.

The Japanese firm says this is an act of faith in the British economy and a reward for the hard work of its colleagues in the country.

The firm was previously based in a smaller office in Staines with just several hundred people, but has decided to expand into a much larger building up the road in Chertsey in Surrey, which accommodates the company's plan for growth.

The firm said it was now actively employing more people and would hope to fill the site within the next five years, something the firm believes shows faith in the UK economy.

Astellas’ new UK and European headquarters is focused on sales and marketing for its key disease areas in urology, transplantation medicines and its future focus on oncology. The firm has no R&D sites in the country.

Ken Jones, president and chief executive of Astellas Pharma Europe, said at the event: “Astellas has long been out-performing the market and whilst bigger pharma firms are seeing their revenue shrink from patent expiries, we are seeing ours grow with new products and new areas of interest.

“Our investment in the new Chertsey site shows the confidence and our success in recent years and marks a new chapter for the company. The UK is in tough times much like the rest of Europe, but we are working hard to get through adversity via innovation.”

He added that the firm was looking to launch ten new products in Europe over the next five years and is expecting ‘real growth’ from the firm when these drugs are launched.

Also speaking at the event yesterday was the health minister Lord Howe, who said he had already visited the firm’s global HQ in Tokyo, Japan last year and believed that the UK and Japan had an ‘excellent relationship’ that was being made stronger by its decision to move to Chertsey.

Speaking more broadly about pharma investment in the UK, Lord Howe said: “This government already has a strong and productive relationship with pharma, but we want to build the best environment to encourage business and life sciences growth in the country.

“The economic conditions are tough, but the government has mapped out a growth platform for the industry in the guise of the Innovation Health and Wealth report, which we believe will make the UK a global hub for life sciences.