Chugai Pharmaceutical’s synthetic research facility will begin operations by January 2020. Credit: Chugai Pharmaceutical.
The facility will help in the process development of small and middle-molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Credit: Jamie.
The facility will be equipped with advanced containment technologies and research equipment. Credit: ibbl.

Japanese pharmaceutical company Chugai Pharmaceutical is developing a synthetic research facility at its existing location in Kita-ku, Tokyo.

Announced in June 2018, construction on the facility is expected to begin in October 2018 and is scheduled for completion by November 2019. Operations are estimated to begin by January 2020.

Chugai Pharmaceutical is investing CNY4.5bn ($40.5m) in the project, which is expected to enhance the process development for small and middle molecule active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

Location of the Chugai Pharmaceutical synthetic research facility

Chugai Pharmaceutical’s existing Ukima Research Laboratories in Kita-ku is built on a 31,323m² site and has a total floor area of 59,198m².

The research activities carried out at Ukima Research Laboratories include API manufacturing and product design. The facility also develops quality testing methods and analyses the structure and physical properties of pharmaceuticals.

Details of the synthetic research building in Kita-ku

Chugai Pharmaceutical’s new synthetic research facility will be a six-storey building with a 985m² total site area and 4,925m² floor area.

“The project is aimed to accelerate innovation and productivity through research by speeding up the development processes for new middle molecule pharmaceuticals.”

Advanced containment technologies and research equipment will be installed. These will be leak-proof to prevent researchers from being exposed to harmful chemical compounds.

The facility’s layout will be designed to improve communication among researchers. The facility will be equipped with high-potency API (HPAPI) facilities to enable Chugai Pharmaceutical to carry out process development, ranging from early development to commercial production of new drug candidates.

Research activities at Chugai Pharmaceutical’s Kita-ku facility

The new facility will enable an expansion of existing research activities in regards to high-potency APIs. It will carry out synthetic research that is expected to further strengthen the process development for small and middle-molecule APIs.

The project is aimed to accelerate innovation and productivity through research by speeding up the development processes for new middle-molecule pharmaceuticals.

Small molecule drugs penetrate into cells but cannot block protein-protein interactions. They have a molecular weight of 500g per mole (gm/mol), are manufactured through organic synthesis and can be administered either orally or through an injection method. Therapeutic antibodies, conversely, can act on specific target bodies but cannot pass through cell membranes due to their size.

Middle-molecule drugs combine the advantages of both small-molecule drugs and therapeutic antibodies. They are able to reach targets that cannot be approached by small molecule drugs and therapeutic antibodies alone, as they can enter cells and act actively and specifically on targets.

These next-generation medicines have a molecular weight of between 500gm/mol and 2,000gm/mol.

Marketing commentary on Chugai Pharmaceutical

Based in Tokyo, Chugai Pharmaceutical is a research-based pharmaceutical company that manufactures biotechnological products.

The company specialises in prescription pharmaceuticals and is a member of the Roche Group. It develops innovative products to satisfy unmet medical needs, with a specific focus in the field of oncology.

Chugai Pharmaceutical’s research facilities are located in Gotemba and Kamakura, Japan. The company also operates a facility in Singapore, which focuses on generating novel antibody drugs using its proprietary innovative antibody engineering technologies.

Chugai Pharma USA and Chugai Pharma Marketing are two subsidiaries of Chugai Pharmaceutical. These are involved in clinical development activities in the US and Europe respectively.