Eisai is expanding its operations in the Middle East and parts of Africa with the opening of a regional representative office in Dubai.

The Japanese drugmaker says that the move comes in tandem with its recent announcement to establish a new EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) business headquarters based in Hatfield, UK. That £100 million facility, which opened in 2009, initially focused solely on Europe.

EMEA regional director Ayman ElDeeb said that Eisai’s entry into the Middle East and Africa region "enforces our wider plan of increasing access to medicines based on a strategy of affordability, availability, adoption and architecture". He added that the expansion is an opportunity to promote currently marketed and pipeline drugs, "as well as to explore in-licensing of products which may match specific patient needs in the region".

Eisai noted that it has already launched Methycobal (mecobalamin) for peripheral neuropathy, in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the Middle East and now plans to register and introduce selected oncology and neurology products. These will include the metastatic breast cancer treatment Halaven (eribulin).