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We want to globalize our products and our company: Takeda CEO

September 5, 2017
Life sciences

Globalization is a central feature in Takeda Pharmaceutical’s strategy to achieve growth, the company’s CEO told CNBC on Tuesday.

“The key for us is to globalize our key products and globalize the company. So instead of launching a new product in two countries, in three countries, we are launching these products globally. That’s very key to growth in the future,” Takeda Pharmaceutical President and CEO Christophe Weber said.

Weber also said the company’s strategy to succeed in the increasingly competitive pharmaceutical space has been to be more innovative, adding that Takeda only develops medicine that has “high innovation potential.”

“[We are] always looking for highly innovative medicine. That’s really important because we don’t want to develop medicine that isn’t truly innovative,” said Weber.

The company, he said, is currently focused on three therapy areas: gastroenterology, oncology and the central nervous system.

Takeda’s first non-Japanese head, Weber has been under pressure to improve profitability at the pharmaceutical company. The push for internationalization has been part of the CEO’s plans to turn things around at the Japanese pharma giant.

Takeda’s consolidated net profit came in at 114.9 billion yen ($1.05 billion) for the year that ended on Mar. 31. In comparison, Astellas Pharma, a younger Japanese competitor, achieved double the profit despite lower sales, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

The company has forecast that its operating profit will rise 15.5 percent to 180 billion yen ($1.65 billion) this financial year compared to one year ago. Still, full-year guidance from Takeda remained below the average analyst estimate of 197.7 billion yen in a Thomson Reuters poll.

While Japanese companies have traditionally struggled to diversify and internationalize, Weber’s push for globalization can be seen within the 235-year-old company. Three out of Takeda’s four inside directors are not Japanese, Nikkei said.

Takeda currently concentrates its research and development in the U.S. and Japan. Weber said the best way to ensure that teams in both countries work well together was to facilitate employee “exchange.”

“We are glad to see so many Japanese [employees] moving to Boston, but we also want our researchers in Boston … to work very well with our Japanese side here,” said Weber.

“I think when you transform a company, you need to understand where your starting point [is and] where you want to go, and also define the pace of change. Not too fast, not too slow,” he said.

As for where Takeda stands on the path to turning business around, Weber said most of the foundation had already laid.

“We have done a lot on many fronts: on the commercial front, on the R&D, on the manufacturing. I will say that we have done the heavy lifting of the transformation and we are starting now to see the result, which is nice.”

By Cheang Ming

Source: CNBC

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