Drug Development

Takeda overhauls R&D, focusing on Boston and Japan in global reorganization

New Takeda CEO Christophe Weber is pushing plans for a global R&D overhaul, concentrating efforts in Japan and the U.S. as the Japanese pharma company pursues three key therapeutic arenas and amps up efforts to forge more research collaborations.

Takeda CEO Christophe Weber

Takeda CEO Christophe Weber

Takeda’s UK operations are coming under the ax in the revamp, with the company beginning the first “consultation” stage of the layoff process. The UK hosts a preclinical R&D operation in Cambridge as well as a development center HQ with facilities in the UK, Switzerland and Denmark.

Takeda execs say the R&D move will cost $725 million to pull off.

“Our R&D footprint will consist of two world-class, externally facing sites in Shonan, Japan and Boston, U.S., supported by lean, cutting-edge regional development and medical centers throughout the world and a premier biotech-like research center in San Diego,” a spokesperson tells Endpoints, though she did not answer a query about how many jobs could be cut in the UK.

Once at the helm, Weber was careful to raise the company flag in the Boston/Cambridge hub, talking up Takeda’s commitment to partnering more as the company concentrated on cancer and GI conditions especially.

Earlier this month Takeda partnered with Los Altos, CA-based Altos Therapeutics on an oral dopamine D2/D3 receptor antagonist, an experimental therapy for nausea and vomiting. And it followed up soon after with another pact involving Belgium’s TiGenix.

The overhaul leaves Takeda focused on oncology, gastroenterology and CNS conditions, plus vaccines, a strategy which had already been expressed by company execs. And Weber says Takeda plans to “optimize” its R&D centers as part of the restructuring. Takeda has facilities in Chicago as well as Boston, where its oncology group is based. Takeda acquired Millennium, a storied biotech company, back in 2008 for $9 billion.

Weber was named CEO back in the spring of 2015, and set out to slowly change a Japanese company was founded in 1781.

Andrew Plump, Takeda CSO

Andrew Plump, Takeda CSO

Takeda CSO Andy Plump had this to say in a statement:

“Our goal is to become the best R&D organization in our industry, but to deliver on this, we need to first build new capabilities and embrace new ways of working. Our near-term priority continues to be the development of our exciting recently launched medicines such as Entyvio and Ninlaro. We need to ensure we have the capabilities, culture and agility necessary to deliver innovative new medicines for tomorrow. Through this transformation, we will develop a more robust and competitive global R&D organization based on Takeda’s strong Japanese heritage and expertise in our core areas of research.”

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