FiercePharmaAsia—Takeda's cost-saving progress; Dr. Reddy's shortfall; Strides' China JV

Asia Map
Takeda, Dr. Reddy's and Strides Pharma made our news this week. (Google)

Takeda's first-quarter results suggested its cost-cutting and debt-slashing plans are progressing well. The FDA cited a Dr. Reddy's API plant in a Form 483 showing some of the same kinds of quality and record-keeping mistakes the agency had found before. Strides Pharma struck a joint venture deal in China with local firm Sihuan Pharma, following similar moves by fellow Indian drugmakers Sun Pharma and Cipla. And more.

1. Takeda whittles away costs—and assets—to keep its debt-cutting promises

Takeda is “well on track” with its cost-cutting goal of saving $2 billion by the end of 2021 as it folds in Shire, Chief Financial Officer Costa Saroukos told investors. The company has chosen employees for 79% of the jobs on its payroll, with “minimal” refusals from its staffers. For the previous quarter, it booked 36.7 billion yen ($338 million) in one-time integration costs, and its margins hit 32.4% thanks to some “phasing of costs and loss of exclusivity timing,” he said.

2. Another day, another Form 483 for a Dr. Reddy's plant

The FDA slapped Dr. Reddy’s API plant in Andhra Pradesh with a Form 483, the drugmaker’s fourth this year. Inspectors cited five shortfalls, most of which centered on its failure to investigate customer complaints. The issues customers had found included microbiological failures and high water content. Moreover, records were generally a mess and couldn’t be provided expeditiously when requested. 

3. China makes Strides the latest Indian drugmaker to enter with a JV (PDF)

India’s Strides Pharma is entering the Chinese market through a joint venture with local drugmaker Sihuan Pharma. Strides will immediately license out four “high potential products” to the JV, which aims to set up local manufacturing on its own. Sihuan will leverage its 4,000-strong salesforce and 3,000-plus distributors to market the products, the companies said. The deal came shortly after rival drugmakers Sun Pharma and Cipla formed their own JVs in China.

4. Chipscreen upsizes IPO as investors flock to China's STAR Market

Shenzhen Chipscreen Biosciences upsized its IPO on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market, Reuters reported. After its shares were almost 3,000 times oversubscribed, the Chinese biotech now expects to raise RMB 1 billion ($145 million), 27% more than it initially aimed for. That would give the firm an enormous price-to-earnings ratio at 468 to 1. Interest in Chipscreen rests on the potential of its drug candidates for cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune and endocrine diseases. 

5. PRA buys out Takeda JV, cements outpost in Japan

PRA Health Sciences completed its buyout of Takeda PRA Development Center, its former joint venture with Takeda. The JV was formed in 2016, when Takeda offloaded its drug development capabilities in the U.S. and Europe—and later Japan. The buyout grows PRA’s head count in Japan to 450 “with opportunity for additional growth in the near term,” the CRO said.