Eisai has unveiled plans to establish a new sales and marketing operation in Russia.

Based in Moscow, the unit's first task will be to oversee the Russian launch of the breast cancer treatment Halaven (eribulin) during the second quarter. Following this, Eisai expects to launch its epilepsy portfolio including Zonegran (Zonisamide), Exalief (eslicarbazepine acetate) and will seek regulatory approval of Fycompa (perampanel) and Inovelon (rufinamide).

The Japan-headquartered group notes that the Russian healthcare market "is large and one of the fastest growing in the world". The pharma industry "holds strong potential for double-digit growth in the next six years", Eisai adds, citing analyst estimates that by 2020, the Russian pharmaceutical market is expected to be worth $60 billion, with annual growth rates of at least 15%.

Gary Hendler, president of Eisai EMEA & Russia, said direct entry into the latter market is "fully aligned with the company’s wider strategy of establishing a solid foundation in the EMEA region". He added that "we currently have a number of products in the final stages of approval and hope to launch four to five products within a year of market entry".