FiercePharmaAsia—Takeda-Novartis Xiidra deal; Daiichi-AZ's HER2 ADC; Sun Pharma eyes China

In its first selloffs since the Shire buyout, Takeda is offloading dry-eye drug Xiidra to Novartis for up to $5.3 billion, including upfront cash and milestone-based follow-up payments. Daiichi Sankyo is eyeing an FDA submission for its AstraZeneca-partnered, anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate after a positive phase 2 readout. Sun Pharmaceutical is scouting for a Chinese partner to help it tap into the world's second-largest drug market, the company's managing director Dilip Shanghvi told Bloomberg. And more.

1. Takeda sells Shire’s Xiidra, transfers 400 staffers to Novartis in $3.4B deal

To help pay down debt, Takeda is offloading Shire’s dry-eye drug Xiidra to Novartis for $3.4 billion upfront, and it’s selling the TachoSil surgical patch to Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon for about $400 million. Together, about 480 Takeda employees will join those products’ new owners once the deals close. Last year, Xiidra generated sales of about $400 million and is “well positioned for blockbuster potential,” Novartis said.

2. AstraZeneca and Daiichi's HER2 therapy hits goal in pivotal trial

Shortly after AstraZeneca paid a hefty $1.35 billion upfront for a stake in Daiichi Sankyo’s anti-HER2 antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab deruxtecan (DS-8201), the pair unveiled data showing the candidate hit its primary goal—objective response rate—in a pivotal phase 2 trial in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. The pair's now aiming for an FDA filing before October.

3. Sun Pharma, seeing 'big opportunity' in China, scouts for local partner (Bloomberg)

China is “a big opportunity for us,” Sun Pharma chief Dilip Shanghvi said in an interview with Bloomberg. “That would create a significant new revenue stream, which is not factored in our valuation when analysts look at it.” The Indian drugmaker is looking for a partner in China, where it currently posts almost no revenue, and plans to start ramping up its business there in about six to nine months, he said.

4. China's WuXi AppTec buys up U.S. Pharmapace, boosting biometrics offering

WuXi AppTec has acquired San Diego-based clinical services firm Pharmapace and will fold it into its clinical CRO arm, WuXi Clinical. With this deal, WuXi is eyeing the U.S. firm’s biometrics capabilities across all phases of clinical trials, regulatory submissions and post-marketing support, especially in the U.S. and Europe.

5. Eisai installs new Alzheimer's clinical trial leadership team

After the high-profile failure of aducanumab, Eisai has installed ex-Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline researcher Michael Irizarry as its Alzheimer’s disease clinical research lead, moving him from a role in its epilepsy and sleep/wake therapeutic groups. Separately, Eisai appointed Harald Hampel VP of Alzheimer’s global medical affairs.

6. Takeda taps Skyhawk's RNA-targeting tech for neurodegenerative disease

Adimab broadens R&D deals with Novartis, Regeneron, Takeda

Takeda inked a deal with Skyhawk Therapeutics, aiming to use the biotech’s SkySTAR platform to develop small molecules that correct RNA mis-splicing in neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, the Japanese pharma is picking up New Hampshire-based Adimab’s antibody discovery platform under a deal first signed in 2016.