AstraZeneca is to invest £120 million in a new facility at its Macclesfield, UK plant to meet continuing global demand for its cancer treatment Zoladex.

Zoladex (goserelin) is one of the world's leading therapies for prostate cancer and is also indicated as a breast cancer treatment. It has been produced at the Macclesfield plant for over 25 years and is currently AstraZeneca's fifth largest selling brand with annual sales of about $1 billion.

Zoladex is available in more than 100 countries and AstraZeneca noted thatl demand for the drug is particularly strong in Japan and emerging markets including China and Russia. It is replacing some of the existing facilities where the medicine is currently produced at the Macclesfield site and building is due to be completed by 2016. Products manufactured in the new plant will begin to be supplied to markets in 2017.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker says the investment secures 300 existing Zoladex jobs at the site and will create over 200 temporary construction jobs between now and early 2017. It is particularly good news for the area given that the company is planning to cease all R&D at its nearby Alderley Park site.

Chancellor, George Osborne, whose constituency covers Alderley Park,  said the investment  is "a real vote of confidence in east Cheshire", which will "save and create hundreds of manufacturing jobs". David Smith, head of operations at AstraZeneca, said that  "having considered a number of options globally, we believe it is the right choice to build the new facility in Macclesfield, which has been home to Zoladex manufacturing - and the expertise that goes along with it - for many years".

He added that "this investment is a further signal of our long-term commitment to the UK, and to the north-west".