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Pharmaceutical company opens HQ in Chicago suburb

Sophia Tareen, Associated Press

GLENVIEW, Ill. (AP) -- Japanese drug-maker Astellas Pharma opened its new $150 million headquarters for the Americas in a Chicago suburb Monday.

The facility includes two seven-story glass-covered buildings totaling more than 400,000 square feet, six video conference rooms and green features, like landscape irrigation from retained storm water, company officials said.

Astellas Pharma US Inc.'s headquarters were in suburban Deerfield but relocated nearby to Glenview with the help of about $4 million in incentives from the state of Illinois, mainly corporate tax credits.

Astellas Pharma has added more than 200 jobs since 2011. About 1,000 employees work at the new location for a total of about 2,600 employees nationwide.

"It helps our state for the future," said Gov. Pat Quinn, who attended Monday's formal opening — featuring a sake ceremony where hundreds of employees took swigs in celebration — with global CEO Yoshihiko Hatanaka and Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Dold.

Astellas is one of Japan's largest pharmaceutical companies. The Glenview-based site is a U.S. affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Japan's largest drug-maker is Takeda, which also has its North American headquarters in suburban Chicago.

Illinois' corporate tax breaks for other companies recently have come under scrutiny.

The state has more than quadrupled the breaks since 2006 to more than $270 million in 2010. Lawmakers have sent Quinn a bill seeking more oversight, but the Democratic governor has not said whether he'll sign it.

Quinn tied the opening of the new headquarters to efforts to improve the state's trade potential. He traveled to Japan and China last year and formed the Illinois Export Advisory Council. He's slated to travel to Brazil later this year.