US drugmaker Abbott Laboratories and Japan’s Takeda have come to an arrangement to dismantle their 30-year joint venture Tap Pharmaceuticals, with each taking an equal share of its assets.

The companies set up their North American TAP joint venture back in 1977 and, 30 years on, the firm is pulling in sales of over $3 billion from its two marketed products – the anti-ulcerant Prevacid (lansoprazole) and the oncology drug Lupron (leuprorelin), and also has two drugs currently under review by US regulators.

Abbott and Takeda have decided to equally divide the value of Tap, with the US group scooping up rights to the Lupron franchise as well as payments relating to the JV’s current and future products, while Takeda takes home the rights Prevacid and Tap’s pipeline.

The transaction is expected to complete in around 30-60 days, the groups said, after which the Japanese drugmaker is planning to integrate its portion of TAP into two of its wholly-owned US subsidiaries - Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America and Takeda Global Research and Development Center.

"With this agreement, Takeda combines two successful organisations and creates a top 15 pharmaceutical company with more than 5,000 employees in the US,” said its president Yasuchika Hasegawa, and he added: “This size and talent base creates a tremendous platform for continued growth in the world's largest pharmaceutical market, which plays a significant role in Takeda's ongoing global growth”.

Benefit to both
Also commenting on the move, Abbott’s chairman and chief executive Miles White said it has given the firms the opportunity to “make a strategic change that equally splits the assets in a way that will benefit both Abbott and Takeda in the future”, and for his company, taking Lupron under its wing “establishes an on-market presence in oncology where we have a number of promising compounds advancing through our pipeline”.

Reaction to the conclusion of the joint venture has been largely positive, with analysts noting that the move will boost Takeda’s US sales operations at a time when domestic growth is relatively flat, while allowing Abbott to place a greater focus on bigger earners in its pipeline, according to media reports.

Both companies said they are not expecting any impact to earnings for the current fiscal year as a result of the agreement.