A FAST-GROWING drugmanufacturing firm is planning further expansion in Japan after recently opening a second US office.

Aesica, one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies, has opened an office in San Diego to add to its existing US base near New York.

By having offices on each US coast, the Newcastle-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, which employs 160 in the North-East and 700 in total, hopes to grow its overall presence in the world’s biggest pharmaceutical market.

Lal Khan, business unit director for active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) at Aesica, said: “We have had an office on the US east coast for two years and we see having an office on the west coast as an important part of our expansion.

“Japan again is one of the leading economies and we have a significant amount of business there, so we plan to have a presence in Japan by the end of next year.”

As well as products for humans, an important part of that will be the animal health market.

Animal health products and treatments account for 2.5 per cent of the global pharmaceutical manufacturing market and the company said it presented a “tangible opportunity for growth”.

Aesica supplies some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies and emerging biotechnology organisations.

Founded in 2004, it has grown from a single API site in the North-East to having multiple manufacturing sites in the UK and offices in China, as well as its US operations.

Mr Khan said: “We saw the opportunities ahead of us, because there was a change in the global pharmaceutical industry from when the big companies used to do everything in-house. Now they use companies like us more and more to provide a service.”