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Takeda to sell 2 drug businesses to reduce debts

May 9, 2019

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said Thursday it will sell two of its drug businesses for up to $5.7 billion to Swiss and American peers as it moves to reduce swelling debts following its $57 billion takeover of Irish drugmaker Shire Plc. earlier this year.

The Japanese pharmaceutical company will receive $3.4 billion in cash and milestone payments of up to $1.9 billion from the sale of its dry eye drug business to Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG.

Takeda said it also agreed to sell its business for sealant patch products, designed to help stop bleeding during surgery, to Ethicon Inc., a subsidiary of major U.S. drugmaker Johnson & Johnson for about $400 million in cash.

The Japanese drugmaker completed the purchase of Shire in January, the biggest-ever Japanese acquisition of a foreign firm, making it one of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies by sales.

“These initial divestitures represent important steps in advancing the growth strategy Takeda outlined following our transformational acquisition of Shire earlier this year,” said Takeda President and CEO Christophe Weber in a statement.

Takeda said it will focus on treatments for diseases in its key business areas including gastroenterology, oncology and neuroscience, “creating long-term value for Takeda shareholders.”

With the selling of Takeda’s Xiidra 5% medicine, the first and only prescription treatment for dry eye disease approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about 400 employees who are based primarily in the United States and Canada will be transferred to Novartis, the Japanese pharmaceutical company said.