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Takeda Buys Millennium To Build U.S. Business

by Ann M. Thayer
April 14, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 15

Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical will spend $8.8 billion in cash to acquire Millennium Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Mass.

"Millennium has strong discovery, development, and commercial capabilities led by a well-established management team," Takeda President Yasuchika Hasegawa says. "Our strong desire is to retain Millennium employees, who have created an entrepreneurial and innovative culture."

Already the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan with nearly $11 billion in annual sales, Takeda sees its purchase of a U.S. biotechnology company as a way to expand its worldwide position in the oncology drug market. Similar moves were made in late 2007 by the Japanese drug firms Eisai, which acquired MGI Pharma, and Astellas Pharma, which bought Agensys (C&EN, Dec. 17, 2007, page 8).

Takeda, however, is spending significantly more than its Japanese competitors to buy a profitable, midsized U.S. biotech business. The 15-year-old Millennium had revenues of $528 million in 2007; $265 million came from its U.S. sales of the multiple myeloma drug Velcade, and $167 million was royalties on non-U.S. Velcade sales by its partner, Johnson & Johnson.

Takeda has made other globalization moves as well. In February, it set up a $1.2 billion deal with Amgen to gain access to 13 molecules in Amgen's drug development pipeline.

And the Japanese company recently restructured its U.S. operations, in part by dissolving and dividing up its 30-year-old TAP Pharmaceutical Products joint venture with Abbott Laboratories. If both shareholders and regulators approve of Takeda's offer for Millennium—both companies' boards have already approved the deal—the biotech firm will become a stand-alone subsidiary of Takeda.



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