Eisai will shift U.S. HQ to New Jersey 'bio-ecosystem' in move to boost oncology, neurology portfolios

Eisai new US headquarters
Eisai will move its headquarters to this 15-story facility in Nutley, New Jersey. (Eisai)

Japanese drugmaker Eisai has established a solid foothold in the U.S. market and found some success with its Merck & Co.-partnered oncology med Lenvima. And alongside BIogen, it's in the FDA queue for a landmark decision in Alzheimer's disease.

But Eisai's stateside ambitions are broader than that—and as if to illustrate that point, the company is plotting a new U.S. headquarters on a high-tech New Jersey campus.

Eisai will relocate its U.S. headquarters from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, to a 15-story complex at the ON3 "bio-ecosystem" in Nutley, New Jersey, by the end of 2021, the Tokyo-based drugmaker said Tuesday. 

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Eisai will be the first biopharma tenant at the 116-acre site, formerly Roche's U.S. headquarters, alongside residents from the healthcare, R&D and diagnostics fields. All told, Eisai will ship 1,200 of its corporate and R&D employees to the site, which the drugmaker called "technologically advanced and cutting edge."

The move will give Eisai the opportunity to collaborate outside biopharma to boost its oncology, Alzheimer's disease and neurological portfolios, the company said. The location in a brand-new hub will also help Eisai recruit talented employees, a spokesperson said.

Eisai's relocation comes as the Japanese drugmaker works to boost its top-selling oncology med Lenvima, which has found a promising partnership with Merck's Keytruda—along with its share of setbacks.

Meanwhile, the drugmaker is also working with partner Biogen on controversial Alzheimer's drug aducanumab, which the FDA accepted for priority review last week. The agency expects to decide the fate of the treatment by March 7.

RELATED: Merck, Eisai's Keytruda-Lenvima combo stonewalled in liver cancer after Roche's first-in-class green light

That was a big loss for the duo, which still has just one FDA approval to its credit in endometrial carcinoma. The partners hoped an approval would put them up against Roche’s pairing of immuno-oncology agent Tecentriq and anti-VEGF drug Avastin, which recently scored an FDA nod in first-line liver cancer with gold-standard data showing they could help patients live longer.

The two companies are still testing the Keytruda-Lenvima combo as a first-line liver cancer therapy in the phase 3 Leap-002 study, which is fully enrolled.

RELATED: Eisai preps for launch with insomnia med Dayvigo after buying out Purdue