Takeda to acquire IDM Pharma for $75 million

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd., Japan’s largest drugmaker, announced last week the acquisition of U.S.-based IDM Pharma for $75 million, a move aimed at bolstering its presence in the cancer drug market.

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TOKYO—Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd., Japan's largest drugmaker, announced last week the acquisition of U.S.-based IDM Pharma for $75 million, a move aimed at bolstering its presence in the cancer drug market.

Takada subsidiary Takeda America will purchase all of IDM Pharma's outstanding shares in an all cash tender offer followed by a merger. The companies expect the deal to close in July.

Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Co.
, Takeda's business unit responsible for global oncology strategy and development, will have global development responsibility for Mepact, IDM Pharma's primary asset. Takeda Pharmaceuticals Europe will be responsible for commercializing Mepact in Europe.

The cancer treatment is the first approved for the malignant bone cancer osetosarcoma in more than two decades and will become part of the Japanese company's oncology group.

"Mepact delivers a demonstrated survival advantage for young patients with a specific type of bone cancer and provides Takeda with an approved therapy that contributes immediately to our top-line growth," Erich Brunn, CEO of Takeda Pharmaceuticals Europe, said in a statement.

IDM Pharma received European marketing approval for Mepact (mifamurtide), a therapy indicated for the treatment of non-metastatic osteosarcoma following surgical removal of the tumor (resection) in children, adolescents and young adults.

Osteosarcoma is a rare and often fatal disease, with approximately 1,200 new cases diagnosed in Europe each year. The disease affects primarily children and young adults. The European Commission formally granted a centralized marketing authorization for Mepact in March, allowing it to be marketed in the 27 EU member states, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

"We envisage that the product will become a key driver in enhancing our European oncology franchise," added Brunn.

Timothy P. Walbert, president and CEO of IDM Pharma, said in a statement that the European approval of Mepact was the culmination of decades of research, and most importantly, the dedication of patients and their families whose involvement in the Phase III clinical trial was integral to providing access to the first new osteosarcoma treatment in more than 20 years.

"Our goal has been to improve the lives of cancer patients by developing therapies that meet significant unmet treatment needs—Takeda shares this goal," he said. "We expect that the significant progress we've made with MEPACT during the last two years will continue to be met in osteosarcoma and other difficult to treat cancers."

IDM also has other drugs in development, including treatments for bladder and skin cancers.

Amid the successes, the past two years have had plenty of low points for IDM Pharma. In early 2008, the company notified the SEC that it was laying off 60 percent of its staff and cutting back on its research efforts after it was jilted in a key collaboration. IDM received a de-listing notice from Nasdaq last month giving the company 10 days to comply with its requirement of maintaining $10 million in stockholder equity.

The acquisition is just the latest for Takeda in the field of oncology.

Takeda paid nearly $9 billion last year to acquire U.S. biotechnology firm Millennium Pharmaceuticals, adding blood cancer drug Velcade to its portfolio. As well as Velcade, the multiple myeloma blockbuster which is being tested in other indications, such as relapsed follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and front-line mantle cell lymphoma, Millennium also has 12 other drugs in development.

Takeda President Yasuchika Hasegawa said at the time that goal is for Takeda to become one of the world's top three oncology companies by 2020.

A report by London-based pharma market intelligence report publisher URCH Publishing said Takeda a few others were under the most pressure to enter into significant M&A as its peers have consolidated.

However, instead of following megamergers led by Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co. and Roche Holding AG, drug companies such as GlaxoSmithKline plc, Eli Lilly and Co. and Sanofi-aventis SA have gone the bolt-on route.

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