Takeda Plans new Divestment for EU’s Shire Nod
Japanese drugmaker Takeda has confirmed it is talking to the European Commission about selling Shire’s inflammatory bowel disease candidate SHP647, along with some associated assets, to win approval for its planned takeover of UK-headquartered, US-managed rival. Regulators in the U.S., China, Brazil and Japan have already greenlighted the deal.
A monoclonal antibody developed by Takeda subsidiary Millennium Pharmaceuticals, DGP647 and is specifically indicated for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, SHP647 is currently in phase 3 clinical trials. It carries an orphan drug status for some pediatric applications and is targeted at the same group of patients as Takeda's already approved Entyvio, thus creating a competitive overlap.
In Takeda’s fiscal year 2018 (Mar. 31), Entyvio’s sales soared by more than 40% to $1.84 billion. Analysts said the Japanese company is optimistic that the drug will post growth rates exceeding 30% in the current fiscal year as it is launched in more territories and indications.
Takeda was reportedly poised to divest Shire’s gastrointestinal product post-merger in any case. This would widen the list of potential divestments to three. The drugmaker said earlier it was considering a sale of the Shire eye care portfolio to help offset the massive debt it is taking on for the acquisition. This would include Xiidra (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution), a treatment for dry eye disease (DED).
Natpara, a drug to treat hypoparathyroidism is regarded as another potential divestment candidate. Together, the two Shire assets are expected to fetch around $5 billion, analysts said.
According to the newspaper Japan Times, Takeda may also want to sell certain European over-the-counter assets worth $1.1 billion. To help finance the $62 billion Shire buyout, Takeda took on $31 billion in additional debt last May. The drugmaker is also selling its legacy headquarters in Osaka, Japan, which Asian press reports estimated could fetch around $542 million.
Takeda’s post-merger plans for Shire include a three-year cost-cutting scheme designed to save $1.4 billion over three years.
This would go hand-in-hand with a workforce reduction of about 7% across the combined company.