Takeda's U.S. chief bows out amid management shake-up

When Takeda Pharmaceutical faced the patent-cliff blues, it brought in Christophe Weber as president and COO to engineer a revamp. And true to his mission, Weber unveiled a new org chart in September, along with a fresh set of top managers.

Doug Cole

Now, Weber has one more seat to fill. The Japanese drugmaker's U.S. president is on his way out, Crain's Chicago Business reports. After 22 years with the company and three in his current post, Doug Cole "is at a point in his career where he decided to explore his options," spokeswoman Sandy Rodriguez told the publication.

Cole's departure follows a bit of a snafu with the launch of Contrave, the Orexigen ($OREX) obesity drug it signed on to market in the U.S. The company's direct-delivery program stumbled out of the gate, as website glitches and an overwhelmed call center created a new-prescription bottleneck. Cole will stick around till March 31, or until his replacement signs on. The other executive changes Weber announced in September are set to take effect April 1, so the timing is similar.

As part of his management shake-up, Weber created 5 regional business units: U.S., Europe-Canada, emerging markets, and two in Japan, one for pharma and the other for consumer health. Earlier this month, Takeda recruited Merck ($MRK) exec Marc Princen to oversee Europe and Canada. He's replacing Trevor Smith, who stepped down Nov. 1 but plans to stay till March 31 to hand over his duties. Weber previously brought in Christophe Bianchi to take over the company's Millennium biotech unit in Cambridge.

Christophe Weber

Weber, in line to become Takeda's first non-Japanese CEO, took over in April and immediately started planning his jump-start for the company. Part of that push involves rebuilding in the U.S., where Takeda is reeling from generic competition for its diabetes blockbuster Actos, which once made up half of its sales in that market.

To help fill in the gaps, Takeda has teamed up to market other companies' products, including Orexigen's new obesity drug Contrave. It also won approval for its own new treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, Entyvio, which Takeda has pegged as a future blockbuster.

Takeda also added to its brand stable via acquisition, including its $800 million buyout of URL Pharma in 2012, which brought along the controversial gout drug Colcrys. That drug could face some unexpected competition from Hikma Pharmaceuticals' Mitigare, thanks to an FDA "carve-out" decision; Takeda is fighting that approval in court.

- read the Crain's story

Special Reports: 10 Largest U.S. Patent Losses of 2012 - Actos | Top 10 Pharma Layoffs of 2012 - Takeda