Millennium ends Takeda's US shopping spree


Japan’s number-one drug maker, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, announced on April 10 that it would buy Millennium Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a bid valued at $8.8 billion that will see Takeda pay a 53% premium on the value of Millennium’s outstanding shares. The deal represents the largest acquisition of a foreign firm in the history of the Japanese pharmaceutical industry, and it sent Millennium shares soaring, gaining 50% on the day of the announcement. It is the latest signal that Japanese pharma is as intent as its European counterparts on gobbling up biotech companies with promising pipelines and products. The Millennium acquisition is the latest in a series of moves by the Osaka, Japan–based company to reinvent itself as a truly global player. In February, it inked a trillion-dollar agreement with Amgen of Thousand Oaks, California, for exclusive rights in Japan to up to 13 compounds for cancer and other diseases from the US biotech’s pipeline (Nat. Biotechnol. 26, 366, 2008). Then, in March, Takeda entered an agreement with Cell Genesys of San Francisco, offering $320 million for the commercialization and development rights to GVAX, an immunotherapy targeting prostate cancer that is currently in phase 3 clinical trials in patients with advanced prostate cancer. And the spending continued: with the termination of a 30-yearold joint venture with Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories, Takeda agreed to pay up to $1.5 billion for the exclusive rights to the ulcer drug Prevacid (lansoprazole). One driver for the Millennium acquisition is Takeda’s desire to be a bigger player in the oncology market. “In the short and medium term, of course, [Millennium’s] Velcade is extremely valuable,” notes Takeda CEO Yasuchika Hasegawa. “However, when you look at growth over the medium to long term, there is a fantastic amount of value there in terms of the people (both the research and the business teams), the pipeline and the infrastructure. What we really wanted to buy was Millennium—the whole thing, as it is.” To encourage Millennium employees to stick around, Takeda even offered a 12–24month retention bonus to “most” of the biotech’s 1,000 employees. The bonuses will be in addition to cash that Millennium employees receive by exercising stock options. Offering key employees bonuses when a company is sold is common practice. But unlike other

DOI: 10.1038/nbt0608-593

Cite this paper

@article{Sipp2008MillenniumET, title={Millennium ends Takeda's US shopping spree}, author={Douglas Sipp}, journal={Nature Biotechnology}, year={2008}, volume={26}, pages={593-595} }