The new European headquarters of a Japanese firm that develops drugs to treat Alzheimer`s disease has been opened in the UK.
Eisai will employ 500 staff working in manufacturing, research and sales at its new European Knowledge Centre in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
Drugs developed by the company include the Alzheimer`s treatment Aricept, and Eisai has been bidding to make the medication more widely available in a joint campaign with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
The opening of the new headquarters was welcomed by author Sir Terry Pratchett, himself a sufferer of Alzheimer`s disease.
“Since I was diagnosed with this disease I have always said that my goal is to stay alive and working as long as possible,” Sir Terry said.
“I realise that I am far more fortunate than many sufferers, not least in the unusual variant of the disease that I have. I know the next two decades will see a tsunami of Alzheimer’s sufferers, all desperately hoping for a treatment which will allow them to live more easily with the condition.”
He added: “We need to speed up research and, incidentally, the speed in which successful discoveries get to patients,” and welcomed the opening of the new centre “as another step towards making these goals a reality”.
Copyright Press Association 2009