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Takeda unveils growth plan as profits come under pressure

Emerging markets targeted as sales hit by generic competition for Actos

Japan's Takeda says it plans to invest further in emerging markets while enlarging its business in the US and Europe as it copes with the loss of patent protection for diabetes blockbuster Actos this year.

The company made the announcement as it reported a 28 per cent drop in operating profit for fiscal 2011 to 265bn yen ($3.3bn). Generic competition has started to hit Actos (pioglitazone), with sales of the drug down 24 per cent in fiscal 2011 to reach 296bn yen.

Actos account for roughly a fifth of the company's total net sales, which slipped 6 per cent to 1,508bn yen.

Takeda has published details of a three-year plan (fiscal 2012-2014) that aims to continue its strategy of becoming a "truly global" pharma company, adding around $3bn in annual sales by the end of that period to achieve revenues of $21bn a year.

The company made major headway on its globalisation process last year with its acquisition of Nycomed in Europe, following that up with the purchase of US firm URL Pharma earlier in 2012, and the costs associated with these $13bn deals were the primary reason for the drop in operating profit.

"Takeda will invest further in growth-driving emerging markets to expand sales and profits," said the company, noting that one strategy will be to push Nycomed's product portfolio through its international sales and distribution channels.

In the area of R&D, Takeda promised to strengthen its drug discovery activities - with an emphasis on 'open innovation' links to external research groups - and will increase its investment in vaccines research.

The company also pointed to promising candidates in its pipeline, notably vedolizumab for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which is in phase III testing.

On Friday, Takeda reported top-line results from the GEMINI II trial of vedolizumab in moderately to severely active Crohn's disease, noting that it achieved significant improvement in the primary endpoint of clinical remission compared to placebo among patients who had already failed treatment with TNF inhibitors.

Takeda said it plans to file vedolizumab, which is a humanised monoclonal antibody against alfa4 beta7 integrin, in the US and Europe during its fiscal year ending March 30, 2014.

14th May 2012

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