Overseas biotech firms to create 600 jobs in UK

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The US biotech company Amgen and the Japanese drug maker Eisai announced multimillion-pound investments in Britain yesterday, and said they would each hire 300 people for drug development.

The California-based Amgen, the world's largest biotech company, said it would spend more than £100m on a European Development Centre in Uxbridge, London, and add to its existing facilities in the Cambridge science park. The Uxbridge site will employ more than 300 staff and forms a key part of Amgen's global expansion strategy.

Amgen's European head of research and development (R&D), Jeremy Haigh, said: "The UK has the scientific talent and capabilities which Amgen needs."

Amgen will also spend more than $1bn (£560m) on a manufacturing facility in Ireland. Eisai said it would invest £75m in setting up a European base in the UK. It will create more than 500 jobs at Hatfield Business Park in Hertfordshire, including 300 jobs in R&D and manufacturing. The investments may help appease those critics who have lamented the brain drain to the US. They come after the UK government's recent stated commitment to attract more R&D investment with the aim of giving Britain a leading position in biotechnology.

The Trade minister Ian Pearson said: "These... investments reinforce the UK's position as having the largest biotech sector in Europe."