Valeant Selling Salix to Takeda?

Valeant Pharmaceuticals is in advanced discussions with Japan’s Takeda to sell its Salix subsidiary for $10 billion, according to the US business newspaper Wall Street JournalThe paper said the purchase price of the stomach drug business, which the Canada-based, US-managed drugmaker bought in March 2015 for about $11 billion, would include about $8.5 billion in cash as well as future royalty payments to Valeant.

Investors have urged Valeant, which is said to be carrying $12 billion in bank loans, to reduce its debt burden. The Salix takeover also has come under scrutiny by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), while the US Congress is examining the company’s former relationship with mail-order pharmacy Philidor on suspicion it used the pharmacy to falsify sales and drive selling prices.

The Canadian company’s former CEO, Michael J. Pearson, stepped down under pressure last year. In the meantime he has been replaced by Joseph Papa, who has hinted that the drugmaker may be looking to sell non-core assets to reduce debt and refocus on eye care and dermatology. Earlier reports suggested that Salix would not be among the assets up for sale, however.

Takeda, which has come under pressure in its home market, is said to seeking to buy a company in the US and Europe. Without naming names, the company told the news agency Reuters it is “in discussion with many parties” about deals for drugs treating stomach diseases, cancer and other areas.

Reuters said Takeda has staked its future on growth overseas after making two major non-Japanese acquisitions for a combined total of about $23 billion. In 2008, it acquired US-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals for $14,000 and in 2011 bought Switzerland’s Nycomed.

In late July of this year, the company’s first non-Japanese CEO, Christophe Weber, unveiled plans for a $725 million reorganization that he said would concentrate R&D efforts in the US and Japan and also refocus the drug pipeline on its core therapy areas of cancer, gastrointestinal and central nervous system drugs, along with vaccines.

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