Takeda has reached a deal that could be worth $12.3 billion to acquire the privately-owned Swiss firm Nycomed, according to the Nikkei newspaper.

Rumours of such a deal had been flying for the last day or so but the business daily claims that the Japanese-owned firm has already agreed to buy all the shares in Nycomed for around 1 trillion yen. If a deal has indeed been struck, it would be a major surprise.

Nycomed, since its acquisition of Altana Pharma in 2007 has grown hugely, netting revenues of 3.17 billion euros last year. It had been eyeing an initial public offering for some time, though plans have been hampered by the economic environment.

Last September, chief executive Hakan Bjorklund told PharmaTimes World News that there was no great hurry for an IPO, as the company's two largest shareholders, Nordic Capital and DLJ Merchant Banking, are long-term backers. Nycomed and Takeda are making no comment on the stories but if a deal was agreed, it will represent the largest ever acquisition by a Japanese drugmaker and push Takeda into the world's top 10 pharmaceutical companies.

The attraction of Nycomed is principally based on its very strong presence in the emerging markets and the company's new chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment Daxas (roflumilast), known in the USA as Daliresp.

Takeda earnings slide

Rumours of a deal came as Takeda announced a 16.8% decline in net income for the year ended March 31 to 247.89 billion yen. Revenues fell 3.2% to 1.42 trillion yen.

The decreases were principally due to the strength of the yen and the loss of patent protection in the USA on the gastrointestinal drug Prevacid/Takepron (lansoprazole). Sales of the latter fell 38.2% to 133.60 billion yen.

Takeda’s biggest earner, the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone), brought in 387.90 billion yen, up 1.2%, while sales of the blood pressure drug Blopress (candesartan cilexetil) slipped 0.2% to 218.00 billion yen. Turnover from the prostate and breast cancer treatment Leuplin (leuprorelin) fell 3.3% to 116.40 billion yen, while sales for Velcade (bortezomib), for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma, were up 10% to 50.80 billion yen.

For this year, Takeda expects pretty flat profits while revenues are forecast to reach 1.5 trillion yen.