HONG KONG – Osaka-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. has divested a portfolio of non-core prescription pharmaceuticals products to Greifswald, Germany-based Cheplapharm Arzneimittel GmbH as part of an ongoing program intended to optimize and simplify its portfolio.

Takeda began the effort after it completed a $62 billion acquisition of rare disease specialist Shire plc in January 2019. In addition to fine-tuning its portfolio, the effort serves to help accelerate deleveraging at the company and allow for continuous investment in its core products.

Cheplapharm will pay Takeda about $562 million up front, with the Japanese company planning to use the proceeds to reduce debt and accelerate de-leveraging toward its target of two times net debt/adjusted EBITDA within the fiscal years of 2021 to 2023. J.P. Morgan acted as Takeda’s financial advisor, while White & Case was the company’s legal advisor. Completion of the deal is expected by the end of Takeda’s current fiscal year, or March 2021, pending regulatory clearances.

A Takeda spokesperson told BioWorld: “The portfolio comprises non-core prescription pharmaceutical products in a variety of therapeutic categories sold predominantly in Europe and Canada, including cardiovascular/metabolic and anti-inflammatory products, along with calcium, excepting Alogliptin.” A full list of the divested products will be made available once the deal closes. The portfolio generated around $260 million in net sales during fiscal 2019.

Cheplapharm declined to comment. It acquired a portfolio of four medicines from Ballerup, Denmark-based Leo Pharma A/S in August. The €300 million ($355.81 million) deal saw the German company snap up non-core products One-Alpha, Locoid, Pimafucin and Zineryt.

The company’s largest product divestment was an M&A deal inked on June 11 with Incheon, Korea-based Celltrion Inc.’s Singapore arm for Takada’s Asia-Pacific primary care portfolio of 12 prescription and six over-the-counter drugs pharmaceutical products.

The 18 products, which generated fiscal 2018 net sales of around $140 million, include:

  • Nesina (alogliptin) and Actos (pioglitazone) for diabetes
  • Edarbi (azilsartan medoxomil) for hypertension
  • Whituben (acetaminophen/dextromethorphan hydrobromide hydrate/guaifenesin/pseudoephedrine hydrochloride/triprolidine hydrochloride hydrate) for colds
  • Albothyl (policresulen) for stomatitis

The deal saw Takeda pay an initial $266 million in cash alongside an additional $12 million in milestone payments. It’s expected to complete by the end of 2020.

A second deal in August saw Takeda hive off subsidiary Takeda Consumer Healthcare Company Limited (TCHC), along with its portfolio of over-the counter drugs and health products, which generated over ¥60 billion (US$569 million) in fiscal 2019, to Oscar A-Co KK, controlled by funds managed by Blackstone Group Inc. This deal is expected to close by March 31, 2021. The divested brands included Alinamin, Japan’s first vitamin B1 preparation, and cold remedy Benza. Blackstone will continue to develop the portfolio alongside current TCHC management and employees.

Atsuhiko Sakamoto, head of private equity at Blackstone Japan, told BioWorld, “we can accelerate the company’s growth, diversify its offerings and expand sales beyond Japan in other key Asia markets including Taiwan, China, and Thailand where the brands already have a steady following, utilizing Blackstone’s global network.”

Other recent Takeda divestments have included:

  • The $660 million sale of non-core assets in the Russia-CIS region to Bad Vilbel, Germany-based Stada Arzneimittel AG
  • A $200 million sale of assets in the Near East, Middle East and Africa region to Acino Holding AG, both of which were completed in March 2020
  • The sale of non-core products in Latin America to Hypera SA for $825 million earlier in 2020 alongside an up-to-$670 million sale of European products, inclusive of two manufacturing sites in Denmark and Poland, to Orifarm Group
  • The divestment of Xiidra (lifitegrast) to Novartis AG for up to $5.3 billion in July 2019

Takeda is also planning to file seven new drug applications over the next 12 months. They include:

  • TAK-721, potentially the first FDA-approved agent to treat eosinophilic esophagitis
  • TAK-609, for which it plans to submit an NDA covering the treatment of Hunter syndrome with cognitive impairment
  • CoVIg-19, which is expected to start a registration-enabling study in COVID-19 patients
  • TAK-003, a dengue vaccine for which a regulatory filing will be submitted in several Asian and Latin American countries
  • Mobocertinib (TAK-788), treating a subset of non-small-cell lung cancer patients
  • Pevonedistat (TAK-924), the first novel HR-MDS therapy in over a decade for which the PANTHER phase III trials to treat higher-risk myelodysplastic syndromes are slated to begin in the second half of 2020
  • Maribavir (TAK-620), potentially the first approved treatment for patients with post-transplant cytomegalovirus infection in over a decade

The company has also released encouraging phase I/II data for TAK-007 treating hematologic malignancies on an outpatient basis, with a pivotal study planned for 2021. Phase II trials for TAK-994, a treatment for narcolepsy type 1, have also seen the enrollment of their first patient.

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