In October 2022, Chugai Pharmaceuticals announced the end of construction on its new research center located in Yokohama City, titled the “Chugai Life Science Park Yokohama” (Chugai LSP Yokohama). This new center will combine Chugai’s two former domestic research centers into one central location. It is scheduled to open officially and begin operation in April 2023, with approximately 1,000 employees, including researchers and staff.
The 158,600-square-meter site and 16 buildings that make up the Chugai Life Science Park Yokohama include drug discovery research functions, as well as facilities primarily responsible for mid-size molecule compounds. Chugai Life Science Park Yokohama has been constructed with specially-designed features, such as a corridor called the “Spine” that connects offices and laboratories intended to encourage communication between researchers. In addition, a “Bio Lab” experience aimed at children and students is planned that will contribute to the development of local communities and future talent in the bio space. Chugai LSP Yokohama will also utilize AI and robotics technology to incorporate automation into its drug discovery process, improving productivity and quality of research.
Yokohama is working to support the establishment of local corporate bases can take advantage of the city’s abundant talent and other resources, and in turn work to invigorate the local economy. The business plan for this research center was certified through Yokohama’s “Business Location Promotion Ordinance,” an incentive program launched by the city, and is thus eligible for support through subsidies and tax reductions. This initiative by Yokohama City has given rise to exciting new activity in the city’s life science industry: The AGC Yokohama Technical Center, which was supported by the same ordinance and established in 2021 by the AGC Group, announced that it is aiming to majorly expand its biopharmaceutical Contract Development & Manufacturing Operations (CDMO) capabilities by 2025. Other recent investments in healthcare R&D in Yokohama include Murata Manufacturing’s Minato Mirai Innovation Center and Kyocera’s Minato Mirai Research Center, which both include healthcare-related functions.