About 400 Takeda employees working on Xiidra and based mostly in Canada and the U.S. will transfer over to Novartis
Reports confirm that Takeda, a research and development-driven pharmaceutical company, is selling Xiidra, a dry eye medication from Shire, to Novartis, which would pay $3.4 billon upfront and promises potential landmark payments of around $1.9 billion, obtaining a therapy that aligns strategically with its ophthalmic pharmaceutical portfolio.
Sources familiar with the matter commented that Takeda is looking to alleviate the huge burden of debt from the Shire buyout. Whereas after spinning off Alcon, Novartis wants to strengthen its portfolio of eye medication. Now, both the companies have seemingly found an agreement where their needs are aligned.
Apparently, the pair hopes the agreement to close by the second half of 2019. Once it completes, about 400 Takeda employees related with Xiidra and based mostly in Canada and the U.S. will transfer over to Novartis. According to Novartis, Xiidra, which competes with Restasis from Allergan, created sales of about $400 million in 2018 and is well placed for blockbuster potential.
In 2018, the whole ophthalmology medicine franchise of Novartis, led by Lucentis, the treatment for macular degeneration related to wet age shared with Roche, brought returns of $4.56 billion, 1% less than the earlier year mainly because of generic erosions to Travatan, its intraocular hypertension drug, and pink eye therapy Pataday, sources informed.
Seemingly, Novartis’ own dry eye treatment in development, ECF843, a recombinant method of human lubricin which was in- licensed in 2017 from Lubris, is in phase 2 with a strategic first regulatory submission in 2022. Through an agreement at the end of 2016, Novartis acquired Encore Vision and also its UNR844, a possibly top-class topical treatment for presbyopia.
For Takeda, the deal with Xiidra marks the first huge sale since the acquisition of Shire for $62 billion. The Japanese pharma giant expects to divest about $10 billion worth of products to help reduce the debt incurred with the acquisition, sources mentioned.