A New Pre­scrip­tion for Asia’s Top Drug­maker

Takeda tar­gets drug cat­e­gories with global ap­peal Most “new mol­e­cules dis­cov­ered to­day are not by Big Pharma”

Bloomberg Businessweek (Asia) - - COMPANIES / INDUSTRIES -

For much of its his­tory, Takeda Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal was a Ja­panese suc­cess story, be­com­ing Asia’s largest drug com­pany and a global force on the strength of medicines such as Ac­tos, once the world’s No. 1 di­a­betes medicine. No longer.

Ac­tos lost pa­tent pro­tec­tion in 2012, as have other Takeda stal­warts over the past decade, and the com­pany’s 5,000 sci­en­tists have pro­duced few win­ners to take their place. The drug­maker’s earn­ings hit a 15-year low in the fis­cal year ended March 2014. And while Takeda once counted on strong de­mand for its branded drugs in its home mar­ket, that’s chang­ing as Ja­pan’s govern­ment em­braces cheaper gener­ics be­cause of bud­get con­straints. Much of the ac­tion in phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals is also shift­ing from ma­ture economies such as Ja­pan to­ward emerg­ing mar­kets, where drug sales are grow­ing much faster.

With about 1.78 tril­lion yen ($15 bil­lion) in an­nual rev­enue, Takeda ranks 18th among the 20 largest pharma com­pa­nies world­wide. “Ten years ago you could be a lead­ing global com­pany by just be­ing big in Ja­pan, be­cause the do­mes­tic mar­ket was so big, but to­day it’s im­pos­si­ble,” says Christophe We­ber, the French­man who last year be­came Takeda’s first for­eign chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

We­ber, a 20-year vet­eran of Glax­oSmithK­line, joined Takeda in

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