FiercePharmaAsia—Takeda’s hard-won Shire deal and Nektar I-O pact; Daiichi’s DMD flop

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Takeda, Shire, Nektar Therapeutics, Daiichi Sankyo, Glenmark Pharma and more made our news this week. (Google)

It took five tries, but Takeda has finally reached a preliminary buyout deal for Shire. Investors don't seem all that keen on it, though. Meanwhile, the Japanese drugmaker joined forces with Nektar Therapeutics to test a drug combo in non-Hodgkin lymphoma. And Daiichi Sankyo pushed its DMD drug candidate ahead despite mixed data from an early trial.

1.  Shire and Takeda come to terms with a $64B deal, the biggest pharma M&A in years | Hey, Takeda shareholders: Shire's Q1 may ease some buyout worries, analysts say

Takeda has finally landed a preliminary deal for Shire. The $64 billion M&A proposal, heavier on cash than a previous bid, is now up for blessings from both boards and is subject to due diligence. Takeda’s stock plummeted on the news Wednesday morning, but after Shire unveiled its first-quarter financials, analysts say they see reasons why Takeda investors shouldn’t worry. As they noted, Shire’s gastrointestinal franchise and rare-disease drugs did quite well in the first quarter.

2. Shire-hunting Takeda notches R&D collaboration with Nektar, pair to combo I-O drugs

Takeda also made an immuno-oncology R&D pact with Nektar this week. The two are combining Nektar’s NKTR-214 with Takeda’s TAK-659 in a non-Hodgkin lymphoma trial, with plans for studies in solid tumors down the line. This comes after an alliance last May to combine the Nektar drug with up to five of the Japanese pharma’s oncology compounds.

3. Daiichi DMD trial misses primary efficacy endpoint

An early phase study of Daiichi Sankyo’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug DS-5141b failed to show clear efficacy in an early trial. It was able to induce mRNA with exon 45 skipping of the dystrophin gene but failed to translate that into expression of the dystrophin protein. Daiichi decided to push for further development based on safety and mRNA production data.

4. India hospital accused of misleading people in Glenmark trial without consent

India’s drug regulatory body is investigating accusations that a hospital there misled more than a dozen osteoarthritis patients into joining a clinical trial of Glenmark's painkiller GRC 27864. According to reports of those allegations, several people were told they would find work at the hospital but were instead given medication.

5. Terumo’s Vascutek and Bolton Medical merge to form single aortic device company

Vascutek and Bolton Medical, both owned by Japanese device maker Terumo, will merge into a single entity focused on the aortic and vascular implant market. The new company, to be called Terumo Aortic, is expected to have a combined revenue of about $200 million.

6. NuProbe bags cash to enable early detection of cancer

Sino-American startup NuProbe has raised $11 million from a syndicate of Chinese investors to develop blood tests for early detection of cancer and infectious diseases. The company is using a DNA toehold probe system “based on the fundamental engineering principle of molecular competition” to enable early detection.

7. Indian drugmaker Theon Pharma gets warning letter for falsifying records, other issues

Maltese regulators found evidence of document falsification during an inspection at India’s Theon Pharmaceuticals in early March. They also noted six “major” deficiencies and 11 other issues. Now, European regulators are issuing their own warning letter.

8. India’s Indoco Remedies cited by U.K. drug regulators for manufacturing issues

During an inspection of an Indoco Remedies plant in India, U.K. drug regulators found a myriad of issues, including falsification of data. The agency issued a statement of noncompliance and a restricted GMP certificate.