Towa to produce esomeprazole magnesium in Barcelona for export to Japan

Parent company tackles supply instability and opens the door for its subsidiary to the world's third largest generics market

The approval of the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) has allowed the Japanese multinational Towa Pharmaceutical to integrate its subsidiary Towa International's plant in Martorelles (Barcelona) into its production chain. The Spanish factory will thereby strengthen the group's production back-up system, and with the first challenge: to guarantee a stable supply in Japan.

It will be the first time that Towa International will produce for its parent company, a milestone that consolidates synergies in terms of both skills and knowledge. In addition, the subsidiary, which already markets its products in the world's two largest generics markets thanks to approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will now enter the Japanese market, the third largest in the ranking.

Strengthening internationalisation
The Martorelles plant will be able to produce and market 10 mg and 20 mg esomeprazole magnesium capsules for the Japanese market as of 14 February. This is a strategic step that underpins Towa International's four-year plan to strengthen its internationalisation and increase its production capacity.

The subsidiary's expansion plan will involve an investment of over 25 million euros to upgrade its production and R&D facilities, plus a further 55 million euros specifically for R&D. The company that pioneered modified-release (pellet) technology, which prolongs the drug's action, is now working on a second-generation omeprazole with a smaller capsule to make it easier to swallow.

A key moment
Towa International is currently the leading producer of omeprazole in Spain, France and other EU countries. Its CEO, David Peix, sees manufacturing for Japan as a key moment, “The effective collaboration between our parent company and our international hub and the achievement of this approval demonstrates our strong capabilities, technology and know-how to operate in the largest international markets.

We are committed to continuous development, building on our group’s strengths to reach new milestones in the future and continue with our international expansion plan to reach the maximum number of patients worldwide,” he asserted.

The company's parent company considers the stability of supply to the Japanese pharmaceutical industry to be compromised at this time. Generics account for 80% of the pharmaceutical market in the country, and with three local plants in which it has invested heavily the company says it is prepared to handle the situation.

Photo: Towa International