CEO Christopher Weber Trims Takeda’s Fat and Builds Muscle in Much-Needed Areas
November 8, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Japan’s Nikkei business publication reported FujiFilm Holdings and Takeda are closer to inking a deal that could be worth about $1 billion for the pharmaceutical company. Takeda owns about 72 percent of Wako, a subsidiary of Takeda that was originally formed in 1922.
Takeda’s move to a more efficient operations will allow the company to focus on its four core therapeutic areas: gastroenterology, oncology, central nervous system and cardiovascular and metabolic. But, it’s a move that many are crediting to Takeda’s new chief executive, Christophe Weber, who assumed the top spot at the Japanese company last year. One unnamed source told the Nikkei publication that a sale of the chemical division was something that “only a non-Japanese chief could make.”
The company has been shedding assets and deals that no longer fit with its new focus, freeing up money to pursue acquisitions, as well as enhance its vaccine pipeline with drugs battling Dengue and the Zika virus.
Although the company is making a move to streamline operations, Takeda recently created two new business units to support its pipeline. A dedicated Specialty Business Unit will enable Takeda to develop best-in-class capabilities in areas such as patient support and evidence generation. Takeda’s new General Medicine Business Unit will support marketing operations for the company pipeline. In September, Weber said with the company’s new focus, he is more open to plunging into the M&A frenzy that has dominated the landscape for the past two years.
“We are much more organized and ready to do something now than one year ago,” Weber said, according to Reuters. “We are very active and we are looking at opportunities.”
To meet those goals, Takeda has set aside $15 billion to go after U.S. pharmaceutical acquisitions in an effort to reduce its dependency on the Japanese domestic market, which has been sluggish of late. The company has entered into a number of collaborations, including one announced Monday with Koneska Health. Takeda is also rumored to be in talks to acquire Valeant Pharmaceuticals Salix gastrointestinal drugs business. There is speculation that the Salix sale could hit $10 billion, which would be a loss for Valeant, which acquired Salix last year for $14.5 billion.
Although Takeda has remained mum on whether or not it is looking at Salix, the company issued a statement earlier this month saying the company is “continuously considering various options aiming to accelerate its growth. At this point, we have nothing to be disclosed.”
This is not the first time Takeda and Valeant have been rumored to be talking about a sale. Earlier this year, there were rumors that Takeda may have had a big M&A move on its mind – the acquisition of Valeant. However, Valeant rejected the idea of selling the company in order to give Joe Papa, its new chief executive, time to focus on running the company following the ouster of former CEO J. Michael Pearson.
As Takeda shifts its strategic focus, the company said it will now concentrate research and development activities in the United States and Japan to “build a world-leading R&D organization and pipeline.” In a statement, Takeda said the refocusing effort is critical to provide the company with the “necessary organizational and financial flexibility to drive innovation, enhance partnerships, and improve R&D productivity for long-term, sustainable growth.”