Celltrion buys drug portfolio from Takeda, ventures into chronic diseases

South Korea’s Celltrion has made its first major acquisition, buying a portfolio of drugs including diabetes and hypertension drugs from Takeda that will expand its expertise with small molecule drugs. 

With the deal worth around $278.3 million Celltrion has commercial rights and patents for 18 products in nine Asia-Pacific markets including South Korea. 

Celltrion has made its name by producing biosimilars – near-copies of complex biologic drugs – and the Takeda deal represents a new revenue stream. 

It said that demand has been high for treatments for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia in South Korea. 

But with the majority of drugs for these conditions supplied by multinationals Celltrion hopes to position itself as a national manufacturer to ensure the country’s health system is more self-sufficient. 

The deal works for Takeda as it needs to sell off older products to pay off some of the debts it incurred with its merger with Shire at the beginning of last year. 

This deal includes two diabetes drugs: Takeda’s new drug Nesina and its well-established Actos. 

There are also over-the-counter drugs such as the cold remedy Whituben and Albothyl for stomatitis, and Edarbi for hypertension. 

Nesina and Edarbi are protected from generic competition with patents running until 2026, and 2027, respectively. 

Aside from South Korea, the deal covers Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. 

These products grossed a combined sale of approximately $140 million in the fiscal year 2018 in these markets.  

They are expected to be distributed by Celltrion Pharm, a Celltrion affiliate company, in Korea and by Celltrion Healthcare in other AP territories. 

Celltrion will acquire the business through its wholly owned subsidiary in Singapore.  

Subject to approval from relevant local and/or foreign authorities, Celltrion plans to complete the transaction by the end of the fourth quarter this year. 

Takeda will continue to manufacture the portfolio of divested products and supply them to Celltrion. 

Celltrion will start manufacturing some of the important acquired products once it has transferred the relevant technology from Takeda. 

 

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