Takeda offloads $670M of European drugs as consumer health sale rumors resurface

Takeda has inked yet another deal aimed at lowering its debt level after the Shire acquisition.

The Japanese pharma said Friday that is has agreed to sell about 110 over-the-counter and prescription drugs in Europe, as well as two manufacturing sites, to Danish company Orifarm for up to about $670 million.

Wrapped in the bundle are some OTC products and food supplements, plus drugs such as blood thinner Warfarin and hypothyroidism med Levaxin, which collectively sold about $230 million in the fiscal year ended last March. These drugs fall outside of Takeda’s focus business areas, namely gastroenterology, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology and neuroscience.

The money will go to Takeda in several chunks. The first payment, about $505 million, will be made upon deal closing, which is expected to happen by the end of March 2021. Orifarm will then pay $70 million in four years, as Takeda is entitled to receive an additional $95 million should certain sales milestones be met.

A pair of manufacturing sites in Denmark and Poland will also be transferred to Orifarm, while Takeda will continue to make several products for the buyer under additional manufacturing and supply agreements.

All told, about 600 employees currently working at those manufacturing sites, in sales and marketing and other supporting roles, will join Orifarm.

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The deal will bring Takeda another step closer to its target of selling $10 billion worth of non-core assets to pay off debts. Counting the Orifarm transaction, Takeda has so far penned deals for or already collected $7.66 billion from product selloffs. These include selling Shire’s eye drug Xiidra to Novartis, a deal that alone could bring in up to $5.3 billion.

But its bid to trade TachoSil surgical patch for $400 million with Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon was recently derailed by antitrust scrutiny at the Federal Trade Commission. It’s not immediately clear whether Takeda is shopping the bloodstopper patch around for a new buyer.

Separately, Takeda might look to sell its consumer health unit in its home country for about 400 billion yen ($3.72 billion), Nikkei Asia Review reported Friday.

According to the Japanese financial news publication, top Japanese OTC player Taisho Pharmaceutical is a frontrunner for the business.

CEO Christophe Weber last year said he didn’t plan to carve out the Japanese consumer health franchise, instead pointing to businesses outside of Japan as potential divestiture targets.