In a bid to expand its presence outside Japan, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co is setting up a subsidiary in Canada.

Takeda Canada will be headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, which the firm notes is “one of the top three biotech areas in North America”. Canada is the world's eighth largest pharmaceutical market.

Takeda president Yasuchika Hasegawa said that the company “is striving to reinforce a global operating infrastructure including expanding its own sales channels”. The move into Canada “is a significant step in expanding Takeda's North American presence", he added.

Takeda Canada intends to file its first New Drug Submission with the Canadian Health Authority by the end of 2009. The president of the new entity is Daaron Dohler who was responsible for creating Takeda's Global Alliance Management organisation.

Millennium touts pipeline
Takeda’s biggest move in looking overseas for future growth was the $8.8 billion acquisition of the USA’s Millennium Pharmaceuticals last year and last week the latter went through its pipeline in Tokyo.

As well as Velcade (bortezomib), the multiple myeloma blockbuster which is being tested in other indications, such as relapsed follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and front-line mantle cell lymphoma, it also has 12 other drugs in development. Among the compounds Millennium highlighted are MLN-8237, an Aurora A kinase inhibitor, MLN-4924, which inhibits the Nedd8 activating enzyme and vedolizumab.

The latter, codenamed MLN0002, is a novel alpha-4 beta-7 integrin antagonist, has just moved into Phase III for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. A New Drug Application for vedolizumab is expected to be submitted in 2011.