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Takeda To Buy Switzerland’s Nycomed

Pharmaceuticals: Purchase will take Japanese firm further outside its home market

by Michael McCoy
May 23, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 21

Credit: Takeda
Takeda opened this $1.8 billion research center in Japan earlier this year.
Credit: Takeda
Takeda opened this $1.8 billion research center in Japan earlier this year.

Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical is continuing its push west with an agreement to acquire the Swiss drugmaker Nycomed for about $13.7 billion. The acquisition is the largest ever by a Japanese drug company.

With sales in its most recent fiscal year of about $17.3 billion, Takeda is Japan’s biggest drugmaker. Privately owned Nycomed is a midsized European player that gets almost 40% of its sales from emerging markets. Excluding its U.S. dermatology business, which is not part of the transaction, Nycomed had sales last year of about $4 billion.

For Takeda, the purchase is part of an effort to become a bigger player outside Japan and to offset the 2012 U.S. patent expiration for its leading product, the diabetes drug Actos. Its 2008 acquisition of Millennium Pharmaceuticals for $8.8 billion bolstered its U.S. presence, and it sees Nycomed doing the same for Europe and developing markets in Russia, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.

“Nycomed enables Takeda to maximize the value of our portfolio and gives us an immediate strong presence in the high-growth emerging markets while doubling Takeda’s European sales,” Takeda CEO Yasuchika Hasegawa said in announcing the deal.

In a presentation for stock analysts, Hasegawa highlighted the value of Nycomed’s Daxas, a treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that Takeda expects will be a major source of revenue growth. Approved in the U.S. earlier this year and in Europe in 2010, Daxas should bring in more than $700 million in annual sales by 2015, Takeda predicts.

Takeda has been particularly aggressive in expanding outside Japan, but other Japanese pharmaceutical companies have also been making moves. In September 2009, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma paid $2.6 billion for U.S.-based Sepracor. Earlier, Daiichi Sankyo bought India’s Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, and Eisai acquired U.S.-based MGI Pharma.

In addition to new products and markets, such acquisitions can bring an entrepreneurial corporate culture that often eludes Japanese drug companies. In the presentation to analysts, Hasegawa said he hoped to capitalize on Nycomed’s “can do” culture to further vitalize Takeda.



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