Takeda, the largest pharmaceutical company in Asia, agreed to sell its Xiidra eye drug to Novartis in an effort to cut the debt it took to acquire UK-based biopharmaceutical company Shire. The agreement includes a $3.4 billion upfront payment with potential milestone payments of up to $1.9 billion, a Novatis press release said.
The sale of Xiidra eye drug, Takeda’s first divestment since the Shire acquisition, is anticipated to close in the second half of 2019, the company said. The acquisition not only transformed Takeda into the world’s top 10 drugmakers by sales but it also became one of the most indebted. Takeda is headquartered in Tokyo.
Novartis also added that Xiidra’s presence in the US, Canada, and Australia will strengthen its presence in eye care. “Xiidra, with its unique dual benefits, is an example of the type of innovative advances we invest in for the benefit of patients. We look forward to leveraging our well-established commercial infrastructure to bring this medicine to more patients,” Novartis CEO Paul Hudson said.
Novartis said that it would take on the nearly 400 employees associated with Xiidra. The eye drug earned approximately $400 million revenue in 2018. Takeda’s shares rose as much as 3.3 percent in early trading on Thursday.