Goodbye Millennium brand, hello big commercial expansion for Takeda's cancer biz

So long, Millennium. Takeda, which shelled out $8.8 billion for the Massachusetts company back in 2008, is retiring what at one time was an iconic biotech brand.

Dr. Christophe Bianchi--Courtesy of Millennium

Recently known as Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, the Cambridge-based business will become simply Takeda Oncology to reflect a new unit the company says will improve its ability to meet the "unique and urgent needs" of cancer patients, their caretakers and their doctors worldwide.

"Now, our agile business model optimally organizes us to quickly meet the diverse needs of cancer patients, health care providers and systems around the world, and bring the next generation of cancer treatments to cancer patients who need them," Dr. Christophe Bianchi, president of the company's global oncology business unit, said in a statement.

That business model has undergone plenty of change as of late, with new COO Christophe Weber--in line to become the company's first non-Japanese CEO--took the reins in April and began engineering a shake-up. So far, he's set up regional business units in the U.S., Europe-Canada, emerging markets and Japan, and a fair share of exec shuffling has accompanied the revamp.

Michael Vasconcelles--Courtesy of Millennium

For the oncology unit, the rebrand will mean an influx of resources and the expansion of its worldwide commercial network. Those changes will follow last May's R&D reorg, which folded Millennium's R&D ops into the parent company's organization, eliminating Millennium CEO Deborah Dunsire's position in the process. That move also aimed to expand the Japanese pharma's global commercial reach, resulting in a research infrastructure that's the "strongest and most integrated it has ever been," the company's head of its oncology therapeutic area unit, Michael Vasconcelles, said in a statement.

Takeda will need its commercial game up to speed if its cancer candidates--like Phase III ixazomib, being studied in multiple myeloma and other diseases--come to market. The company is still working to fill the giant shoes of off-patent blockbuster Actos, which has churned out more than $16 billion in branded U.S. sales over the course of its lifetime.

- read the release

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