Takeda promises more cost savings from Shire acquisition
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 10:08 AM

Takeda Pharmaceutical CEO Christophe Weber promised greater cost savings from the company's purchase of Irish drugmaker Shire, lifting the savings target by 43% versus its earlier forecast.

"It will be a critical year for Takeda, in which our integration with Shire will begin," Weber said in an earnings briefing on Tuesday in Tokyo.

Takeda raised the cost-savings target for its combination with Shire, stating that by the end of 2021 the annual pretax target will be as high as $2 billion. Previously, the Japanese drugmaker had predicted savings of about $1.4 billion. Optimizing its supply chain, enhancing sales and marketing efficiency and eliminating administrative overlap will bring about the greater savings, Takeda said.

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New BIO Report: More Progress Needed in Innovation of Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutics
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:00 AM

Washington, DC (May 14, 2019) – Today, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released a new report, The State of Innovation in Highly Prevalent Chronic Diseases Volume IV: Alzheimer’s Disease Therapeutics, the fourth in a series on the innovation landscape of highly prevalent, chronic diseases. This volume takes an in-depth look at the state of innovation for therapeutics in Alzheimer’s disease, which is expected to affect more than 13.8 million people in the United States by 2050 and cost well over $1 trillion annually.

”The growing health and financial impact of Alzheimer’s disease on American patients, caregivers, and our healthcare system makes the need for new treatments more pressing each day,” said BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “The good news is that America’s biopharmaceutical companies currently are conducting 74 clinical-stage programs intended to stop, prevent, or slow the progression of this looming crisis. The bad news is that, while these programs hold real promise, the R&D challenges with this disease are enormous and the level of investment and innovation is not where our nation needs it to be to address this exploding public health crisis.  To win this fight, it is essential that our public policies stimulate more investment in research and innovation.”

The analysis, which aims to assess the depth and breadth of innovation to meet the needs of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, also features historical clinical success rates, failed mechanistic strategies, as well as trends in venture financing and investment into new clinical trials. 

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J&J’s Ethicon to acquire Takeda’s TachoSil surgical patch for $400m
Thursday, May 09, 2019 02:33 PM

Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson (J&J), has agreed to acquire TachoSil Fibrin Sealant Patch from Takeda for $400m upfront in cash.

Novartis has also agreed to acquire dry eye drug Xiidra from Takeda for $3.4bn upfront in cash. Takeda plans to use the proceeds from these divestitures to decrease its debt and enhance deleveraging toward its target of 2.0x net debt/adjusted EBITDA in the medium term.

TachoSil is a ready-to-use surgical patch developed to help surgeons to achieve fast and reliable bleeding control and tissue sealing.

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Novartis buys dry eye drug from Takeda for up to $5.3 billion
Wednesday, May 08, 2019 12:00 AM

TOKYO/ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis is buying dry-eye drug Xiidra from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co for up to $5.3 billion as the Swiss drugmaker refreshes its ophthalmic medicines portfolio with a potential blockbuster. 

The deal, announced early on Thursday, calls for $3.4 billion up front and milestone payments up to $1.9 billion, Novartis said. 

The acquisition from Takeda, which is jettisoning the medicine to reduce debt, adds to several big Novartis transactions over the last year as the Basel-based company both beefs up its portfolio and sheds non-core assets to focus on prescription drugs. 

It is also the latest Japanese-European deal in the pharmaceutical sector following British drugmaker Astrazeneca’s $6.9 billion agreement in January to work with Daiichi Sankyo on an experimental breast cancer drug. 

Expected to close after July, the transaction includes 400 Takeda employees, which analysts from Bank Vontobel in Zurich said gives Novartis a marketing team to sell not only Xiidra but another prospective eye drug entrant, RTH258 for macular degeneration, now awaiting regulatory approval. 

“Despite generic competition...we think that Xiidra is sufficiently differentiated,” Vontobel analyst Stefan Schneider said. “The market (is) big enough for it to reach blockbuster status, justifying the price.” 

Xiidra, with $400 million in 2018 sales and approval in markets including the United States, Canada and Australia, competes with Allergan’s older Restasis. 

Generics maker Teva has a generic version of Restasis in Canada and is planning a launch in the United States, as is Mylan, pending resolution of legal disputes. 

Xiidra has yet to get European regulatory approval. 

“Following closing, we will explore the opportunity for the other territories acquired,” a Novartis spokesman told Reuters. 

BLOCKBUSTER BOUND? 

For Takeda, this is its first divestment since its leveraged takeover of Shire in January, part of a flurry of multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical deals as drugmakers seek to buy other companies to combat expiring patents on their blockbuster medicines and renew their drug pipelines. 

Japan’s biggest drugmaker aims to dispose of $10 billion worth of assets to cut debt, and also said it is selling TachoSil, a surgical patch for bleeding control, to Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon for $400 million. 

“We are working to strategically simplify and optimize our portfolio, while also rapidly deleveraging,” Takeda CEO Christophe Weber said in a statement. 

For roughly 34 million U.S. dry eye sufferers, tears fail to adequately lubricate their eyes, and the condition can become painful, potentially leading to eye damage, Novartis said. 

Xiidra, which treats signs and symptoms of dry eye by controlling inflammation, won U.S. regulatory approval in 2016 under Shire’s watch and was considered then its most important new medicine. 

“We look forward to leveraging our well-established commercial infrastructure to bring this medicine to more patients,” said Paul Hudson, who heads Novartis’s drugs business, adding the company sees Xiidra “well positioned for blockbuster potential” topping $1 billion annual sales. 

Novartis just shed its eyecare division Alcon into a separate publicly listed company in a $30 billion shareholder spin-off, but only after moving Alcon’s prescription eye drugs into Novartis’s main pharmaceuticals business. 

Novartis shares were down 0.7 percent at 0812 GMT. Takeda shares closed up 0.2 percent in Tokyo.

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National Institutes of Health Awards Moonlight Therapeutics with a $2.5 Million Grant to Advance Development of Peanut Allergy Treatment
Tuesday, May 07, 2019 03:50 PM

Funding to support company’s preclinical development of a breakthrough allergy treatment

Moonlight Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company developing treatments for food allergies, announced today the receipt of $2.5 million in funding for preclinical studies and product development that will enable preparations for a clinical trial for its lead program in peanut allergy. This funding was awarded through a highly competitive Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Fast Track grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Moonlight’s proprietary platform, TASIS — Targeted Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy within the Skin — involves the application of a small, minimally invasive dermal stamp that uses microneedles to target the delivery of allergens to the skin’s immune cells. The stamp is removed within a few minutes and the administration is complete.

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