Takeda to consolidate U.S. vaccines ops in Cambridge

Takeda vaccines president Rajeev Venkayya

Cambridge, MA, will get a little more crowded after Takeda's Tuesday announcement that it plans to close multiple U.S. facilities and expand its presence there into a U.S. vaccines headquarters.

The company will leave its Bozeman, MT, Madison, WI, and Fort Collins, CO, vaccines sites and shift its U.S. vaccines headquarters from Deerfield, IL, to the Boston area over the next two years as it moves all U.S. nonmanufacturing vaccines activity to the new hub. In total, about 150 jobs will be impacted through the closures; Takeda spokesperson Julia Ellwanger said that as the transition will take two years, it's too soon to say how many employees will make the move to Cambridge.

Along with Zurich, Switzerland, the new U.S. post will serve as Takeda's global vaccines headquarters outside of Japan. Regionally, the company plans to maintain sites in Singapore and Brazil with manufacturing plants in Hikari, Japan, Durham, NC, and Singen, Germany.

The location will "significantly enhance communication and collaboration across [vaccines business unit] divisions, and will allow VBU to leverage Takeda's significant R&D presence in Cambridge. It will also provide access to the area's remarkable biotech/pharmaceutical ecosystem and talent base," Takeda's statement said.

Despite the decision to close several of the R&D outposts, Takeda's vaccines president, Rajeev Venkayya, said in a statement they were "instrumental" in bringing the company's norovirus and dengue programs to late clinical stages. The consolidation will help the company "to achieve the efficiency and operational excellence needed to execute the Phase III clinical programs and set the stage for global commercialization of these vaccines," he added.

Takeda CEO Christophe Weber

Takeda's move follows GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) announcement in April that it's closing a vaccines R&D facility in Cambridge inherited in its multibillion-dollar asset swap with Novartis ($NVS), instead opening a global vaccines R&D headquarters in Rockville, MD. Takeda, for its part, announced the new Singapore location in February as it continues its own global vaccines push.

And the company isn't alone in focusing on Cambridge, as multinational pharmas Eli Lilly ($LLY), Novartis, Pfizer ($PFE), Sanofi ($SNY) and others have moved into the neighborhood in the last couple of years, ditching remote R&D outposts for the talent hotbed.

As he engineers a turnaround for the company, CEO Christophe Weber has said that Takeda has an increased focus on vaccines. The company last month inked a deal with Japan's Kaketsuken to distribute a flu vaccine in that country, and, in January, said it's eyeing vaccinemakers in India as a possible entry point there.

- here's the release