AstraZeneca to Buy Respiratory Drug Business From Japan's Takeda

  • Drugmaker to buy respiratory business from Japan's Takeda
  • AstraZeneca also strikes deal with China's WuXi AppTec

AstraZeneca Plc announced two transactions designed to beef up its operations in China and Japan, where sales are growing.

The London-based drugmaker agreed to buy a respiratory business from Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. for $575 million to gain global rights to the lung treatment roflumilast, according to a statement on Wednesday. It also struck an alliance with China’s WuXi AppTec, a research and development platform, to investigate biological medicines.

As ageing blockbuster drugs like Nexium and Crestor reach the end of their patent-protected life, AstraZeneca is seeking new avenues of growth. The agreement with Takeda will provide access to other respiratory medicines and early pipeline products, while the deal with WuXi includes an option to buy the company’s biologics factory in Wuxi City in the next few years.

AstraZeneca sales are declining in Europe and the U.S., its largest market, but China and Japan are a different story. China ranked as AstraZeneca’s fastest-growing major market in the first nine months of the year, with sales there increasing 17 percent at constant-exchange rates. Revenue in Japan rose 3 percent in the period.

Earnings Boost

The deal with Takeda will boost earnings starting next year, said Luke Miels, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president of global portfolio. AstraZeneca already markets roflumilast in the U.S. under the brand name Daliresp, and garnered $72 million in sales from the drug in the first nine months of the year.

The stock rose 0.9 percent to 4,430 pence as of 9:21 a.m. in London trading. The stock has dropped 3.6 percent this year, compared with a 8.6 percent gain in the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.

Takeda has pushed to make its operations more efficient, and last month disclosed plans for a partnership with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. to sell generic drugs and certain off-patent medicines in Japan.

About 200 Takeda employees will transfer to AstraZeneca upon completion of this deal, in which Rothschild & Co. advised the Japanese company.

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