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Takeda wraps 30 emerging markets drugs in $200M selloff to Swiss pharma Acino

October 16, 2019
Life sciences

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Aiming to reduce debt after its $59 billion Shire acquisition, Takeda has found a buyer for a third bundle of assets.

The Japanese drugmaker is selling some 30 over-the-counter and prescription drugs in the Middle East and Africa to Switzerland’s Acino International for more than $200 million, the companies said Tuesday.

The products are “primarily” outside of Takeda’s chosen focus areas of gastroenterology, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology and neuroscience, the company said. The exceptions are rights to older stomach drugs dexlansoprazole and pantoprazole in some of the countries, a Takeda spokesman told FiercePharma. Takeda remains committed to supplying the two drugs in the emerging markets countries where it retains rights.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates, among other countries, are included in the agreement. “Takeda remains committed to this region,” Ricardo Marek, Takeda’s president of Growth and Emerging Markets, said in a statement. The deal allows Takeda to channel resources to new drugs; it plans to launch 16 innovative medicines over the next three years in those countries, the spokesman said.

About 300 Takeda employees, mainly working in sales and marketing, will transfer to Acino once the two companies wrap up their deal, which is expected in the quarter ending March 31, the spokesman said.

Acino, a Zurich-headquartered pharma owned by private equity firms Nordic Capital and Avista Capital Partners, is focused on emerging markets including the Middle East, Africa, the Commonwealth states and Latin America. Last October, the company recruited Bristol-Myers Squibb veteran Andrew Bird to lead its business in the Middle East and Africa.

“We are confident that Acino is best-positioned to provide uninterrupted access and supply of the divested products to patients,” Marek said. Through a multiyear manufacturing and supply agreement, Takeda will continue to make the products for Acino.

The sale is probably not the last one for Takeda as it works to reduce debt to its target of two times adjusted EBITDA over the next three to five years. The company is in final talks to jettison some assets in Russia to Germany’s Stada, Bloomberg said last week, citing people familiar with the matter.

Brazil’s EMS Pharma was previously reported as the most likely buyer for Takeda’s Latin American business, which could fetch around $1 billion. Several OTC and prescription drugs in Western Europe are also on the chopping board, and potential suitors include Zentiva owner Advent International, Apollo Global Management and Cerberus Capital Management, according to Bloomberg last month.

All told, Takeda is aiming to raise about $10 billion from selloffs to help pay down the $31 billion debt it took on to scoop up Shire. The Acino deal follows selloffs of Shire’s Xiidra eye drug to Novartis for $3.4 billion upfront and TachoSil surgical bleeding control patch to Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ethicon for about $400 million.

By Angus Liu

Source: Fierce Pharma

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