The Netherlands, a major hub for global pharmaceutical company Astellas

For Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas, the Netherlands is one of the most important countries in the world outside of Japan. Astellas performs not only some of its global R&D in the Netherlands, but also a considerable portion of its global production.

A producer and developer of medicines for a range of therapeutic applications, Astellas arose from the 2005 merger of two Japanese pharma heavyweights, Yamanouchi and Fujisawa, and now has a place in the global top 20 pharma companies and employs a total of 17,500 people.



The history of the Dutch side of what is now Astellas long predates the Yamanouchi-Fujisawa merger: it started out in 1798, when Willem Brocades opened his apothecary in Meppel. Astellas now has around 1,100 Dutch staff, 750 of them in Leiden and 350 in Meppel.

The lab in the Leiden Bio Science Park is one of Astellas’ three R&D centers worldwide; the results of the research carried out here are implemented globally. Given the lab’s international orientation, Astellas made the decision to house its European supply chain department and Dutch sales and marketing office in Leiden, too.

“The Netherlands has a favorable investment climate, making it even more attractive to us to have Dutch operations,” said Barbara te Riele, Astellas’ Communications Manager. “What’s more, Dutch government bodies such as the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency are making a constructive contribution to the scope for further development.”

“Leiden Bio Science Park is a really attractive location for us, especially as so many other players in our industry are there too,” te Riele added. “This location also sets us cheek by jowl with the University of Leiden and the university hospital, the LUMC; in addition, we are close to the lab training at the University of Applied Sciences Leiden, a vital advantage not least in terms of recruitment considerations.”

May 2015

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