Takeda has revealed that it is considering making a move on Shire to add ballast to its core therapeutic areas.

The Japanese drugs giant stressed that it has not made an approach to Shire’s board, but is exploring an offer “at a preliminary and exploratory stage”.

Takeda said it believes a deal with Shire would strengthen its oncology, GI and neuroscience offering, as well as accelerate its vision to be a leader in specialised medicines.

Also, a merger would balance Takeda’s geographic focus to align with the market opportunity in the US and “drive financial value from a strong combined financial profile”, the firm noted.

In a brief statement, Shire merely confirmed that has not been approached by Takeda and noted there is no certainty that offer will actually be made.

It also stressed that Takeda must, by no later than 5.00pm (London time) on 25, April 2018, either announce whether it intends to make an official bid for the firm, subject to conditions or pre-conditions if relevant.

Nevertheless, shares in the British drugmakers leapt more than 25 percent at one point as investors welcomed the prospect of deal, the value of which could exceed $40 billion according to CNBC.