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Takeda keeps divestment spree rolling with $1.2B sale of diabetes meds to Japanese firm Teijin

After inking a slate of geography-specific product selloffs last year, Takeda has turned back to Japan.

Takeda locked up a deal to sell four Type 2 diabetes meds in Japan to local drugmaker Teijin Pharma for 133 billion Japanese yen ($1.2 billion), freeing up the company to focus on its core businesses in gastroenterology, rare diseases, plasma-derived therapies, oncology and neuroscience.

The move is the latest in Takeda’s selloff spree, linked to a divesture goal it set alongside its Shire merger. The company has already exceeded its $10 billion target, but has shown no sign of slowing down, as it continued to shave off noncore products late into 2020 and early 2021.

Under the deal, Teijin is getting its hands on four Type 2 diabetes drugs for the Japanese market—Nesina, Liovel, Inisync and Zafatek. All told, the portfolio pulled 30.8 billion yen ($288 million) in Takeda’s 2019 fiscal year, the company said.

Takeda will continue to manufacture and supply the drugs, handing off marketing rights and—eventually—marketing authorization to Teijin. The asset transfer is expected to go through on April 1, but Takeda will hold onto marketing authorization for the time being, with those rights to be awarded to Teijin later.

Patients still depend on those drugs in Japan, but they now fall outside Takeda’s key areas of focus, the company said. With the sale, Takeda’s portfolio is set to become a bit more manageable; plus, it inches the company closer toward clearing the debt it picked up in its $59 billion Shire deal.

Specifically, Takeda says it will use the proceeds to reduce that debt and speed up deleveraging toward a target of two-times net debt to adjusted EBITDA by fiscal year 2023.

To help hit that target, Takeda in December agreed to offload five cardiovascular and metabolic drugs in the Chinese Mainland to local drugmaker Hasten Biopharmaceutic for $322 million. The deal followed a $278 million transaction with South Korea’s Celltrion in June and a $2.34 billion sale of Takeda’s Japanese consumer health business to a company controlled by Blackstone in August.

Meanwhile, the company sold some more noncore products—marketed mainly in Europe and Canada—in a $562 million deal with Germany’s Cheplapharm in September, and just last month unveiled plans to pawn off certain over-the-counter and prescription meds in Latin America to local firm Hypera Pharma for $825 million.

The company has breached its $10 billion divesture goal for non-core products, and counting its latest sale to Teijin, has announced 12 deals worth some $12.9 billion since January of 2019. Plus, that $10 billion is a “target,” not a “cap,” a Takeda spokeswoman said via email.

“Takeda may continue to take advantage of potential opportunities to further focus on Takeda’s five key business areas—Gastroenterology, Rare Diseases, Plasma-Derived Therapies, Oncology, and Neuroscience,” she said.