UPDATED: Takeda snatches Baxalta plant to produce Entyvio in U.S.

Christophe Weber

Takeda Pharmaceutical CEO Christophe Weber is in the midst of crafting the Japanese company's turnaround, and a piece of that effort is Entyvio, a drug he says should chip in $2 billion at its peak. Weber will soon have a new biologics plant in the U.S. devoted in large part to that drug that will help that effort.

Takeda said today it is buying a biologics manufacturing facility located in Brooklyn Park, MN, from Baxalta ($BXLT). The company said that while it will be primarily for the production of the inflammatory bowel disease drug, the plant will give it some supply chain flexibility for other biologics as well.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Takeda said in an email that it is offering jobs to the 42 employees at the plant. "Acquiring the state of the art Brooklyn Park facility and gaining access to a highly experienced and dedicated team is a very important strategic benefit for Takeda that reinforces and expands upon our global operations for Entyvio and future biologic products," Thomas Wozniewski, Takeda global manufacturing and supply officer, said in a statement.

Baxter ($BAX), which has since spun off Baxalta, had bought the 215,000-square-foot plant from Genmab in 2013 and had put some money into improvements. The company said in an email today that the plant was going to require "significant investments to upgrade its capabilities," and it decided to sell it instead.

Entyvio was approved in 2014 as a second-line treatment for Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. It came into the market competing against well-established products like AbbVie's ($ABBV) Humira, Amgen's ($AMGN) Enbrel and Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Remicade and follow-up Simponi.

But Entyvio is only one piece of Takeda's strategy for Weber, who took on the CEO title last year and is Takeda's first non-Japanese leader. The company has been working since 2013 to cut about $1 billion from operating costs by 2017 but Weber has pledged there will be growth in the current fiscal year and he is looking for help from drugs beyond Entyvio. In November, the company won approval for Ninlaro, a multiple myeloma treatment that it hopes will duplicate the success of Velcade, one of the drugmaker's blockbuster products.

The approval came none too soon. The drugmaker was hoping to get Ninlaro well established before patents fell off of blockbuster Velcade in 2022. But a federal judge last August overturned a key patent, putting the Japanese drugmaker's drug vulnerable to generics as early as next year.

- here's the release