Takeda announced Tuesday that it received clearance from the European Commission for its proposed $62-billion acquisition of Shire, with the condition that Takeda sells its experimental anti-integrin agent SHP647 and certain associated rights. Takeda said it expects SHP647 “to attract interest from a number of potential buyers.”
Christophe Weber, chief executive at the Japanese drugmaker, remarked “we are very pleased to have secured clearance from the European Commission, the final regulatory approval required to proceed with our acquisition of Shire.” Subject to gaining shareholder approvals, Takeda said it expects to complete the merger on January 8 next year.
The European Commission had raised concerns that Takeda might discontinue development of SHP647 because it currently markets the inflammatory bowel disease therapy Entyvio (vedolizumab), which belongs to the same class of biologics, potentially “[leading] to a loss of innovation and a reduction in potential future competition.” In order to address the concerns, Takeda offered to divest SHP647, which is in phase 3 testing for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, “including the rights to its development, manufacturing and marketing, to a purchaser that would have an incentive to develop the drug,” the European Commission said.
Takeda hinted last month that it might divest SHP647 in order to gain European clearance of the Shire deal. Sources have also indicated that Takeda could offload Shire’s eye-care business in an effort to reduce debt.
Shareholders of both companies are scheduled to vote on the transaction on December 5. Some Takeda investors have questioned how the Japanese drugmaker plans to repay the debt needed to fund the takeover.
The deal was previously approved by regulators in the US, Japan and China.