TOKYO (AP) — Japan's top drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical and U.S. biotechnology giant Amgen Inc. have entered a tie-up that will give Takeda access to Amgen's pipeline of new drugs, the companies announced Monday.
Under the deal, Osaka-based Takeda will initially pay up to US$1.18 billion (euro0.79 billion) as well as offer royalties and new drug development funding to Amgen, the companies said in a joint statement.
In exchange, Takeda will acquire Amgen's Japanese unit and rights to develop up to 13 new drugs for the Japanese market, they said. Amgen will hold co-promotion rights to the drugs in Japan.
''We are excited about the agreements with Amgen, and also to welcome Amgen K.K. into Takeda Group,'' the statement quoted Takeda President Yasuchika Hasegawa as saying.
The tie represents the latest move by a Japanese drug maker to buy overseas assets to help it sustain its growth as it faces looming patent expiration on some of its key drugs marketed globally.
Unlike their U.S. and European rivals, who have quickly expanded through mergers, major Japanese drug makers have been strengthening their new drug pipelines by acquiring biopharmaceutical companies and by buying rights to promising drugs.
The deal will enable Takeda — Japan's biggest drug maker by revenue — to expand its pipeline with Amgen's antibody drugs for cancer, inflammation and pain, and will likely help it catch up with rivals in boosting its biopharmaceutical business.
Thousand Oaks, California-based Amgen Inc. will likely benefit from having a partner in the Japanese market, where regulations and clinical study practices are very different from the U.S. and Europe.
''The development programs included in this collaboration represent the growth engine for Amgen in the next decade,'' Amgen Chairman and CEO Kevin Sharer said, according to the statement. ''Takeda's confidence in these programs validates their potential to become innovative therapies for patients in Japan and worldwide.''
Takeda shares fell 0.62 percent to 6,340 yen (US$59.37; euro39.88) on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The deal was announced after the close of trade.
Japan is the second largest pharmaceuticals market outside of the U.S.