FiercePharmaAsia—Takeda's $2.3B Japan consumer health sale; Bayer's new Beijing plant; Celltrion's latest biosim pact

Asia Map
Takeda, Bayer, Celltrion and more made our news this week. (Google)

Takeda has agreed to sell its Japanese consumer health business to Blackstone Group after months of rumors. Bayer is adding a new manufacturing plant to its Beijing production site that could increase yearly output by 40%. Celltrion struck an agreement with Intract Pharma to develop the world's first oral biosimilar of Johson & Johnson's Remicade. And more.

1. Takeda to offload Japan consumer health unit to Blackstone for $2.3B

It’s official: Takeda has finally agreed to sell its Japanese consumer health business to Blackstone Group after months of rumors. Blackstone could shell out $2.3 billion for the business, helping the Japanese pharma hit its goal of drumming up $10 billion through divestments to pay down debt it incurred when swallowing Shire. Blackstone aims to take the ex-Takeda business public in about five years.

2. Bayer builds out Beijing production site with new $59M supply plant

Bayer’s Beijing production site is getting an upgrade. The German drugmaker is adding a new supply plant that it thinks will boost the site’s yearly output by about 40%. The $59 million plant, set to come online in late 2022, should provide more production space and a technical area equipped with automated production lines and logistics capabilities. The company will use the plant to build out Chinese supplies of cardiovascular and diabetes drugs, among others.

3. Celltrion taps Intract Pharma to develop world's first oral Remicade biosimilar

South Korea’s Celltrion has teamed up with U.K.-based Intract Pharma to codevelop the world’s first tablet biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson anti-inflammatory blockbuster Remicade. Celltrion already boasts subcutaneous and IV versions of the top-selling drug, and it’s hoping an oral version will help it snag an even greater share of the market. Intract will be on the hook to develop and advance the candidate through phase 2, at which point Celltrion will take over.

4. Takeda, Ovid rare epilepsy drug slashes seizures in phase 2

In a phase 2 study, Takeda and Ovid’s epilepsy drug bested placebo at reducing seizure frequency in children with two rare, genetic forms of epilepsy, the partners said this week. The candidate, dubbed soticlestat, performed better in Dravet syndrome than in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, teeing up a phase 3 study in the former. The companies, meanwhile, will mine the data in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome cohort to determine next steps.

5. FDA puts India's Wintac on blast for lackadaisical probe into bacterial contamination

U.S. regulators aren’t happy with India’s Wintac and its inadequate attempts to correct problems at a Bangalore, India facility. After finding bacterial contamination at the site last November, Wintac—the CMO arm of New Jersey-based Somerset Therapeutics—highlighted just one possible source, failing to launch the kind of wide-ranging probe the FDA wanted to see. Wintac also refused to document corrective actions to prevent future contaminations, the agency said.

6. TriNetX taps Singapore medical school to add data from an extra one million patients

Global research network provider TriNetX is joining forces with Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School to add de-identified data from more than a million patients to its network, designed to help across clinical trial processes. The new pact is focused on providing “innovative education and impactful research to enhance the practice of medicine in Singapore,” the pair said in a statement.

7. Contract manufacturer PCI sells off majority stake in expansion play in Europe, Asia

PCI Pharma servies may be primed to expand in Asia after private equity firm Kohlberg & Company and Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala agreed to pick up a controlling stake in the contract manufacturer. Kohlberg and Mubadala are hoping to partner with PCI’s management team to help bolster the company’s presence in Asia and Europe and boost its offerings, potentially adding services including sterile fill-finish of injectable drugs.