Eisai expands in Europe with new Belgium business

Eisai has expanded its operations in Belgium, opening doors to a new office in Brussels.

It will be tasked with coordinating Eisai’s local reimbursement activities for breast cancer drug Halaven (eribulin), which was approved in Europe in March 2011 and has been submitted for local reimbursement approval by Belgium’s INAMI/RIZIV.

Gaining reimbursement for Halaven would go some way to mitigating its failure to win NICE backing for the drug in the UK. It would also be significant for its fortunes in Belgium, where cases of breast cancer are disproportionally high.

Nicolas Kormoss, medical director for Belgium and Luxemburg at Eisai EMEA, said: “Belgium has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world, with around 2,500 women dying from breast cancer every year. We hope the local health authorities recognise the clinical value that Halaven could bring to those in the country with advanced breast cancer.”

The company’s Belgium business will also be responsible for marketing Eisai’s orphan drug Inovelon (rufinamide), which is used in the treatment of epileptic seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

The drug was launched in Belgium in March 2012 and was previously marketed by the Brussels-based Benelux sales and marketing subsidiary Eisai launched in 2007 to cover Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

Commenting on the opening of the new Belgium office Gary Hendler, president and CEO, Eisai EMEA said: “We are delighted to open an Eisai office in such a key European market, both to support Inovelon and to provide a solid base for the launch of Halaven in the future.”

Meanwhile, Eisai’s plans received a boost recently from US regulator the Food and Drug Administration (FDA_, which approved the pharma company’s Hatfield, UK site to manufacture and supply six strengths of its epilepsy drug Fycompa (perampanel) for export to the US.

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