Takeda Pharmaceutical Co has signed up Pfizer as a partner to co-promote its blockbuster diabetes drug Actos in China.

The Japanese drugmaker says the pact will increase the number of medical representatives supporting the sales and marketing of Actos (pioglitazone) in China. The deal expands the product’s reach “utilising the territory coverage of Pfizer, the largest multinational pharmaceutical company in China”.

Pfizer’s Chinese affiliate will receive a fixed ratio of Actos net sales but financial details have not been disclosed. The drug has been sold in China since 2004 by Tianjin Takeda Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture between the firm and Tianjin Lisheng Pharmacetical.

The potential to expand use of Actos is considerable since China is estimated to have more than 50 million diabetics by 2025. The deal also highlights Pfizer’s strategy of expanding its operations in the country and comes less than a month after it announced plans to establish a new R&D centre in Wuhan.

Meantime, Takeda has signed a deal with Seattle Genetics to develop the latter’s lymphoma drug. The Osaka-headquarted group’s Millennium unit will make a $60 million upfront payment for rights to sell SGN-35 (brentuximab vedotin) which is in late-stage trials for the treatment of relapsed or refactory Hodgkin lymphoma and systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma, outside the USA and Canada.

Seattle Genetics could get up over $230 million in milestone payments, plus tiered double-digit royalties. The companies will jointly fund worldwide development costs and funding by Takeda over the first three years of the collaboration is expected to be at least $75 million.

Deborah Dunsire, chief executive at Millennium, said that the collaboration “closely aligns with our growth strategy, which includes both internal and external opportunities”. She added that getting rights to brentuximab vedotin “will help us increase our reach in oncology throughout Europe and the rest of the world”.

News of the deal is a boost for Seattle Genetics as it comes days after Roche’s Genentech unit elected to terminate the companies’ collaboration agreement for SGN-40 (dacetuzumab), a monoclonal antibody targeting the CD40 protein that has been investigated in trials for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.