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Takeda to sell generics biz from URL deal

by Jonathan Marino  |  Published December 18, 2012 at 2:39 PM
Pills-227x128.jpgHaving extracted the key gout therapy it wanted from URL Pharma Inc., Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. has flipped most of the rest of the business it acquired in that deal to a subsidiary of Mumbai-based generics giant Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Osaka-based Takeda said Tuesday, Dec. 18, that it will sell URL's generics business to Sun subsidiary Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories Ltd. for an undisclosed sum.

Takeda has been expanding globally to not only compensate for recent patent expirations of Type 2 diabetes drug Actos and high blood pressure treatment Biopress, but to brace for the Japanese government's stated desire to decrease generic penetration. As a result, the company has carried out a number of global deals to strengthen its presence in emerging markets and diversify its revenue base.

Over the past year alone, Takeda has snapped up vaccines maker LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals Inc. (at least $60 million); Brazilian generic and nonprescription drug company Multilab Indústria e Comércio de Produtos Farmacêuticos Ltda. (up to $67.4 million); cancer drug developer Intellikine Inc. (up to $310 million) and most recently, central nervous system disorder treatment creator Envoy Therapeutics Inc. (up to $140 million).

In the middle of that buying spree, Takeda also engineered an $800 million takeout of privately held, Philadelphia-based URL Pharma. Takeda was specifically interested in URL's Colcrys, which had accounted for $430 million of the company's roughly $600 million in 2011 sales. Colcrys is a prescription medicine used to both prevent and treat flares associated with gout. The drug posted $155 million in net U.S. sales from June 1 to Sept. 30, Takeda said Tuesday.

URL, however, also has more than six decades of experience making generics and a branded business that includes Food and Drug Administration-approved products such as malaria treatment Qualaquin and cardiovascular drug Fibricor. Takeda didn't mention either of the branded programs Tuesday and is ridding itself of the generics unit by selling it to Sun, which is already a large global generics company.

Sun, meanwhile, is also attempting to expand and has been in the middle of a tumultuous multiyear quest to acquire full ownership of another generics company, Israel-based Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Inc.

Sun owns a majority stake in Taro, but has been angling to buy out the rest of the target's stockholders. Minority shareholders have been adamant that Sun has consistently lowballed its offer for the company; its last offer was $39.50 per share in late November for a stock that was trading at $48.26 per share midday Tuesday.

In late November, Taro postponed a Dec. 6 special shareholder meeting to consider the bid without scheduling a new date.

Just last month Sun tried to build a bigger presence in dermatology by making a roughly $230 million offer for Wilmington, Mass.-based Dusa Pharmaceuticals Inc. Dusa owns two FDA-approved franchises in dermatology: Levulan, a combination therapy for non-hyperkeratotic actinic keratosis, or AKs, of the face and scalp; and Blu-U, a treatment for acne and other dermatological conditions. Sun has a presence in the U.S. dermatology market through Taro, which manufactures topical solutions for a variety of skin conditions, and adding the Dusa therapies would only enhance that position.

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Tags: Actos | Biopress | Caraco Pharmaceutical Laboratories Ltd. | Colcrys | Dusa Pharmaceuticals Inc. | Envoy Therapeutics Inc. | Fibricor | gout therapy | Intellikine Inc. | LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals Inc. | Multilab Indústria e Comércio de Produtos Farmacêuticos Ltda. | Qualaquin | Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. | Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. | URL Pharma | URL Pharma Inc.

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Jonathan Marino

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