AstraZeneca Expands Presence in Asia With Deals in China and Japan

AstraZeneca has entered a strategic alliance with WuXi AppTech and acquired Takeda’s respiratory business.

AsianScientist (Dec. 23, 2015) – Global biopharmaceutical business AstraZeneca has expanded its presence in Asia by entering two significant relationships with medical companies in China and Japan.

A strategic alliance was announced on December 16, between WuXi AppTec (WuXi), an open-access research and development capability and technology platform company, and, MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca.

On the same day, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (Takeda) announced that it had agreed to sell its respiratory portfolio to AstraZeneca.

WuXi reported that its alliance with MedImmune is intended to bring cutting-edge research and technical capability for biologics to China, to help address unmet patient needs in AstraZeneca’s main therapy areas of respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; cardiovascular and metabolic diseases; and oncology.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca has the option to acquire WuXi AppTec’s biologics manufacturing facility in Wuxi city, one of several manufacturing facilities for WuXi, in the next few years. Prior to that, WuXi Biologics, the biologics division of WuXi AppTec, remains the exclusive partner for R&D manufacturing for MedImmune’s innovative biologics in China.

The alliance builds on the existing joint venture between WuXi and MedImmune formed in 2012 to develop and commercialize MEDI5117, a novel biologic for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. It is the first such collaboration in China between a global company and a Chinese company to develop novel biologics.

“We are very pleased that our collaboration with MedImmune has leapfrogged to another level of critical importance since our initial collaboration in 2012,” said Dr. Ge Li, Chairman and CEO of WuXi AppTec.

Ge said that through the partnership, WuXi could offer a gateway for innovative biologics to be developed in China and to be made available to Chinese patients in an expedited fashion.

“This strategic alliance, alongside our accelerated investments, will create a sustainable and strategic innovation platform in China and strengthen our leadership in developing next-generation biologics for both local needs and patients around the world,” said Dr. Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune.

Under the deal with Takeda, AstraZeneca will acquire Takeda’s respiratory business, including products Daxas (roflumilast), Alvesco and Omnaris (ciclesonide). The acquisition will also include regional and local products, as well as several pre-clinical assets. A number of Takeda employees will transfer to AstraZeneca upon completion of the divestiture.

Takeda said that its diversiture to AstraZeneca will allow Takeda to work on becoming best-in-class in these therapeutic areas that became its focus in 2014: gastroenterology, oncology, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic.

“Patients are Takeda’s primary focus and we are committed to working closely with AstraZeneca to ensure a smooth transition,” said Christophe Weber, Chief Executive Officer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited. “AstraZeneca has extensive experience in respiratory care and will be able to prioritize getting these important medicines to the patients that need them.”

The financial impact from this divestiture on Takeda’s 2015 consolidated financial statements is expected to be minimal, according to Takeda. The business reported that sales of its respiratory products, Daxas, Alvesco and Omnaris, totaled approximately 24 billion yen in fiscal year 2014. Takeda expects the transaction to close during the first calendar quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions.


Source: Takeda and WuXi AppTec; Photo: AstraZeneca.
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