Takeda eyes Shire product sales of up to $5B to pay down debt: Bloomberg

Takeda is eyeing product sales to help pay off a massive loan it took to fund its Shire buyout. (Takeda)

Takeda has taken on tens of billions of dollars in debt to fund its massive Shire buy, and ahead of the deal’s closing, it's assessing product sales that could raise up to $5 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Products under consideration for a sale include Shire’s Xiidra eye drops and hypoparathyroidism drug Natpara, sources told the news service. The talks are preliminary, they added, and potential sales won't take place until after the $62 billion deal closes.

The sales could gin up $4 billion in $5 billion for Takeda to pay down debts, Bloomberg reports. The Japanese company took on a $31 billion loan in May to fund its Shire buy. Xiidra brought in $259 million last year after a launch in 2016, while Natpara generated $147 million.

The development comes as Takeda works to secure approvals and build support for its Shire buy, the largest pharma acquisition in several years. The company has faced resistance to its effort; this week, Kazu Takeda, a descendant of the company’s founder, said the deal would be “disastrous.”

In the U.S., Takeda is already implementing plans to consolidate its operations in Massachusetts, where Shire employs 3,000 people. A Takeda spokesperson this week said the company is shutting down its U.S. headquarters outside of Chicago and opening a new site in Boston. About 1,000 people work at the company's location in Deerfield, Illinois. Some will receive relocation offers, the spokesperson added.

Takeda's moves demonstrate the efforts needed to complete a megamerger and incorporate two pharma giants. In May, Reuters reported that the company planned to cut certain R&D programs. In all, the company plans cost cuts of $1.4 billion.

Meanwhile, the $62 billion deal secured approval from Chinese authorities on Friday, following approvals from the U.S. and Brazil. The company still needs approval from the European Union and other major markets. Takeda has said it expects the deal to close in the first half of 2019.