Emerging markets drugs worth $3B could be next on Takeda’s chopping board: report

Takeda HQ
Takeda is mulling over a sale of some drugs in emerging markets worth $3 billion, Bloomberg reported. (Takeda)

Looking to trade in some assets outside Japan to fund its $58 billion takeover of Shire, Takeda is reportedly eyeing a sale of some emerging-market drugs it gained in another acquisition eight years ago.

The Japanese pharma is weighing the sale of some emerging markets products that could fetch about $3 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The talks are too early to draw any conclusion on the fate of specific drugs, the report said.

Takeda acquired these drugs—prescription and over-the-counter included—in its $14 billion buyout of Swiss drugmaker Nycomed in 2011. But lately, emerging markets haven't been doing the company much good.

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For the two quarters ended Sept. 30, Takeda grew sales in emerging markets by only 2.4%. That's the lowest growth rate among all of Takeda's geographic regions, excluding currency fluctuations and one-time changes. Taking those into account, the portfolio declined 6.6% to 126.7 billion Japanese yen ($1.16 billion). In fact, without the double-digit growth posted in China, its emerging markets decline would be even worse.

And Takeda is scouting around for assets to sell. With the Shire deal, Takeda landed a spot among the world’s 10 largest biopharma firms, but at the same time took on an additional $31 billion in debt—one of the risks cited by some buyout opponents.

RELATED: Takeda to keep consumer business, looks outside Japan for selloffs instead: CEO

To help fill that debt hole, CEO Christophe Weber has laid out plans to cut jobs in a bid to save $1.4 billion per year, and he’s also looking to unload $10 billion in assets.

So far, some Shire drugs potentially worth $4 billion to $5 billion, including dry eye therapy Xiidra, have reportedly made its for-sale list. The company has also promised to sell inflammatory bowel disease candidate SHP647 to allay EU antitrust concerns about an overlap with Takeda's own bowel drug Entyvio. While its European OTC business could also be jettisoned, during an investor briefing in January, Weber affirmed his commitment to Takeda’s Japan-based OTC business.

In addition to those products, Takeda has unveiled a plan to shutter its Chicago-area U.S. headquarters and relocate its U.S. operations closer to Shire’s in the Boston region. And after a move to its new global headquarters in Tokyo, it's aiming to collect around $540 million by selling its legacy Osaka estate. Meanwhile, it has returned its majority stake in a Chinese joint venture to partner Shanghai Pharma for $280 million.

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