Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, Japan’s leading drugmaker, is preparing to spend up to $15bn on acquisitions of US-based pharmaceutical companies, the Financial Times has reported.
Citing unnamed sources, the FT revealed Takeda has a particular interest in acquiring cancer-drug companies, as well as firms developing medicine for gastrointestinal conditions and diseases affecting the central nervous system.
Takeda’s latest efforts to break into the lucrative US drug market may be significantly strengthened by its recent multimillion dollar deal with the US Government. On September 2, the Japanese drugmaker announced it had secured up to $312m in US Government funding in order to develop a potential Zika vaccine.
Under the terms of the deal, the government’s health emergency department, BARDA, will pay the pharmaceutical department $19.8m to cover the research and development of the vaccine’s initial trials, offering further investment during later stages. With the government’s financial backing, Takeda will use its pioneering research into Dengue Fever, a related virus, to help create the world’s first vaccine for the rapidly spreading Zika pathogen.
“Working with BARDA, Takeda is deploying its world-class expertise and capabilities in vaccine development for emerging infectious diseases, and our outstanding team and manufacturing facilities in Hikari, Japan”, said the President of Takeda’s Global Vaccine Business Unit, Dr Rajeev Venkayya, at the time of the deal.
While this partnership with the US Government may be Takeda’s most significant foreign collaboration to date, it is not the company’s first serious investment from a US-based firm. In May, the Japanese pharmaceuticals group received a $38m grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eradicate polio in the developing world. This investment enabled Takeda to commence the research, license and supply of 50 million doses of a poliovirus vaccine in over 70 LEDC countries.
These high-profile collaborations have certainly given the drugmaker a foothold in the US healthcare market, while its new acquisition plans show Takeda’s ambitions in the global drugs market are not slowing down.