Takeda has forked out $800 million to acquire US-based gout specialist URL Pharma in its bid to expand in the states – however, some analysts have found the deal baffling.
Under the terms of the agreement, the deal will see URL Pharma being managed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA and will include future performance-based payouts. The deal is expected to close in 60 days.
The move is expected to contribute significantly to Takeda’s revenues, operating income and free cash flow beginning in fiscal year 2013, largely bolstered by the acquisition of URL Pharma’s gout product Colcrys (colchicine), which experienced net sales of more than $430 million in 2011. This has been viewed as a nice addition to Takeda’s portfolio, which already includes Uloric (febuxostat), used to lower blood uric levels in gout patients, which earned the company $24.7 million in the April-September 2011 period.
“This acquisition expands Takeda’s gout treatment portfolio and leverages our expertise in primary care,” said Douglas Cole, president, Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA. “Gout affects more than eight million American’s and the prevalence of gout is rising.” The acquisition also strengthens Takeda’s offerings in the US market, the company statement said.
Strategically, the move could balance some of the effects that will be felt later this year when the company’s biggest earner diabetes blockbuster Actos (pioglitazone) goes off patent. Likewise, the purchase would allow Takeda to offset losses from the patent expiry of peptic ulcer drug Prevacid (lansoprazole).
However, Jefferies analyst Naomi Kumagai said in a research note she was puzzled by the acquisition when Takeda would need more products to offset Actos’ patent expiry. Furthermore, she was not sure “how much value will be brought from the enhancement of the gout franchise”.