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’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

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.”

Fol­low­ing news of job cuts in Eu­ro­pean R&D ops, Sanofi con­firms it’s of­fer­ing US work­ers an 'ear­ly ex­it'

Ear­li­er in the week we learned that Sanofi was bring­ing out the bud­get ax to trim 466 R&D jobs in Eu­rope, re­tool­ing its ap­proach to car­dio as re­search chief John Reed beefed up their work in can­cer and gene ther­a­pies. And we’re end­ing the week with news that the phar­ma gi­ant has al­so been qui­et­ly re­duc­ing staff in the US, tar­get­ing hun­dreds of jobs as the com­pa­ny push­es vol­un­tary buy­outs with a fo­cus on R&D sup­port ser­vices.

Roger Perlmutter. Merck via webcast

'Our lega­cy mat­ter­s': Mer­ck maps out Keytru­da king­dom while spot­light­ing ad­vances in vac­cines, hos­pi­tal care

“You can for the mo­ment stop tak­ing notes. You can put down your pens and your pad. I have no slides. I have no sub­stan­tive da­ta. I have no pitch.”

So be­gan Roger Perl­mut­ter’s brief ap­pear­ance on­stage at Mer­ck’s first in­vestor day in five years, where he dived in­to the com­pa­ny’s his­to­ry dat­ing back to 1933. The first em­ploy­ees at Mer­ck Re­search Lab­o­ra­to­ries, hand­picked by founder George W. Mer­ck, were crit­i­cal to Mer­ck’s abil­i­ty to achieve clin­i­cal and com­mer­cial suc­cess.

How small- to mid-sized biotechs can adopt pa­tient cen­tric­i­ty in their on­col­o­gy tri­als

By Lucy Clos­sick Thom­son, Se­nior Di­rec­tor of On­col­o­gy Pro­ject Man­age­ment, Icon

Clin­i­cal tri­als in on­col­o­gy can be cost­ly and chal­leng­ing to man­age. One fac­tor that could re­duce costs and re­duce bar­ri­ers is har­ness­ing the pa­tient voice in tri­al de­sign to help ac­cel­er­ate pa­tient en­roll­ment. Now is the time to adopt pa­tient-cen­tric strate­gies that not on­ly fo­cus on pa­tient needs, but al­so can main­tain cost ef­fi­cien­cy.

Why would the FDA ap­prove an­oth­er con­tro­ver­sial drug to spur a woman’s li­bido with these da­ta? And why no ex­pert pan­el re­view?

AMAG Pharmaceuticals’ newly approved drug for spurring women’s sexual desire may never make much money, but it’s a big hit at sparking media attention.

The therapy — Vyleesi (bremelanotide) — got the green light from regulators on Friday evening, swiftly lighting up a range of stories around the world, from The New York Times to The Guardian. Several headlines inevitably referred to it as the “female Viagra,” invoking Pfizer’s old erectile dysfunction blockbuster.

But the two drugs have little in common.

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John Reed at JPM 2019. Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News

Sanofi's John Reed con­tin­ues to re­or­ga­nize R&D, cut­ting 466 jobs while boost­ing can­cer, gene ther­a­py re­search

The R&D reorganization inside Sanofi is continuing, more than a year after the pharma giant brought in John Reed to head the research arm of the Paris-based company.

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Re­gen­eron/Sanofi's an­ti­body un­der­whelms in asth­ma study — shares of ri­val Anap­tys­Bio pay the price

Al­though ex­pec­ta­tions were mut­ed, Re­gen­eron $REGN and Sanofi’s $SNY ex­per­i­men­tal IL-33 an­ti­body has un­der­whelmed in a proof-of-con­cept mid-stage asth­ma tri­al. Al­though the drug sig­nif­i­cant­ly im­proved the loss of asth­ma con­trol and lung func­tion as a monother­a­py com­pared to a place­bo, its ef­fect was nei­ther su­pe­ri­or to the es­tab­lished Dupix­ent, nor of val­ue when com­bined with the IL-4/IL-13 treat­ment.

Green-light­ed in Japan, FDA quick­ly spurns Dai­ichi Sanky­o's flawed ap­pli­ca­tion for AML drug

Three days af­ter win­ning Japan­ese ap­proval for its acute myeloid leukemia drug quizar­tinib, Dai­ichi Sankyo is be­ing forced to en­dure an em­bar­rass­ing re­jec­tion at the hands of the FDA.

US reg­u­la­tors wast­ed no time in bat­ting back quizar­tinib af­ter first high­light­ing the messy da­ta in its ap­pli­ca­tion in an in­ter­nal re­view, that in turn per­suad­ed a large ma­jor­i­ty of out­side ex­perts to rec­om­mend a re­jec­tion for the drug, which tar­gets FLT3-ITD–pos­i­tive AML cas­es.

Which top 10 big phar­mas have the most to gain — or lose — over the next 5 years?

When Evaluate Pharma crunched the likely drug sales numbers for the big 10, 2 stood out. 

Takeda, with its big Shire buyout under its belt, is set to almost double its worldwide sales record for 2018 over 5 years, putting it in the big 10 — the 9th spot, to be exact — which is exactly where CEO Christophe Weber wants to be. 

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HIV, pneu­mo­coc­cal — and what? Mer­ck­'s un­ex­pect­ed pipeline high­light ex­cites a lit­tle biotech

In an R&D update dominated by oncology — mostly Keytruda, followed by Lynparza and Lenvima — Merck chose to highlight a program in sensory pathology, an HIV drug, and a group of pneumococcal vaccines. And that has made at least one biotech very happy.

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