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Takeda to pay $800m for URL Pharma

Acquisition strengthens Japanese pharma firm’s gout portfolio

Takeda Pharmaceutical has agreed a deal to purchase US-based URL Pharma for an upfront payment of $800m.

URL, which specialises in treatments for gout, will also be eligible for future performance-based payments.

The deal is expected to close by the middle of May and will see Japanese firm Takeda take control of URL's top selling product Colcrys (colchicine).

The drug, which is approved for use in the US to treat and prevent gout flares, achieved net sales of more than $430m during 2011.

Takeda said that continued growth of Colcrys is expected as part of the product's lifecycle, with the drug due to lose patent in 2028.

Despite this, URL has recently had to sue Par Pharmaceuticals, which has applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve its generic version of Colcrys. The case is ongoing.

President of Takeda's US operations, Douglas Cole, said the acquisition was part of Takeda's plans to expand its gout portfolio, with more than 8m people in the US affected by the condition.

He said: “We are pleased to have URL Pharma's Colcrys added to our product portfolio and look forward to further realising our goal of helping patients by providing multiple treatment options to manage the symptoms of acute and chronic gout in the US”

Takeda has one existing product for gout, with Uloric developed for chronic management of high levels of uric acid in patients with the condition.

It is expected Uloric and Colcrys will complement each other by providing patients with more gout management options for patients with both acute and chronic forms of the condition.

Following the deal's completion, URL Pharma will be managed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA.

Takeda said it expects revenue generated by URL Pharma will contribute more than $550m net sales during 2012.

12th April 2012

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