Astellas Pharma today officially opens a $150 million campus in Glenview, Chicago. It will serve as North American headquarters for the Japanese drug developer. Astellas plans to hire 90 new workers by month’s end.

The 90 will join 284 people hired over the past year by Astellas, increasing its U.S. workforce to more than 2,700 people. That number includes the 1,100 people who moved their offices in May from leased space in nearby Deerfield, IL, to the new campus, which features twin seven-story, glass-encased buildings encompassing 425,000 square feet. In return for the newly announced jobs, Astellas will receive $4 million in economic incentives from Illinois.

Astellas’ new Glenview headquarters houses the company’s global development and medical affairs teams along with human resources, corporate communications, finance, and other corporate-level employees. The campus also includes space for the construction of a third building, which would increase the area to 600,000 square feet.

Astellas has been in Deerfield since 2004, following the merger of predecessor companies Fujisawa Healthcare of Deerfield and Yamanouchi Pharma America of Paramus, NJ. At the time, the newly renamed Astellas Pharma retained 350 jobs and added 75 more.

The new headquarters reflects the company’s long-term commitment to Illinois and underscores its continuing global expansion, Collette Taylor, Astellas’ svp of human resources and corporate administration, told the Chicago Tribune. She added that the project signifies to local employees “that they’ve arrived—that Astellas is a big player.”

U.S. growth for Astellas helped account for the company’s 15.6% jump in net income during the year that ended March 31, up to ¥78.2 billion ($999.56 million) from ¥67.6 billion ($863.95) a year earlier. The U.S. is part of Astellas’ “Americas” region, which saw revenues rise 6.7% in the 2011–12 fiscal year to $2.32 billion—part of a total nearly $12.4 billion in total global sales—paced by sales of its urinary disorder treatment Vesicare and the anticancer treatment Tarceva.

However, Astellas fell short of its revised forecast for the fiscal year of ¥85 billion ($1.086 billion) in part due to increased competition from generics in the U.S. for its immunosuppressant Prograf. Its total sales fell 4.8% to ¥154.8 billion ($1.977 billion) in 2011–12 from ¥162.2 billion ($2.07 billion) a year earlier, paced by a 29% drop in Americas sales of Prograf to ¥29.2 billion ($372.9 million) from ¥41 billion ($523.6 million).

Astellas is stepping up U.S. drug discovery activity. Also today, the company announced it has entered into a second partnership to develop and commercialize an Astellas compound with Drais Pharmaceuticals. Astellas will transfer ownership of ASP7147, a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, to Seldar Pharma, a virtual company that will be operated by the Drais executive team. The partnership is similar to one Astellas and Drais entered into in April to advance another compound through another virtual company.

To read the story from the Chicago Tribune, click here.

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