Takeda bets on China for global growth

BEIJING • Takeda Pharmaceutical Co sees China becoming a “core country” for its global growth strategy and is optimistic its US$62 billion (RM251.29 billion) acquisition of Shire plc will win the approval of the country’s regulators.

The company is preparing to begin selling seven new drugs in China in the next five years, more than in any other region, while working to secure reimbursement for them under the country’s medical insurance programme, CEO Christophe Weber said in an interview in Beijing. He didn’t say how many drugs would be introduced in other markets in that period.

“There’s no reason in the long term China shouldn’t be our second-biggest business in the world,” Weber said. Takeda’s goal is to launch drugs in China “at the same tempo as all of our markets, especially Europe and US. It’s a big, big shift”.

Takeda is in the thick of getting approvals for its acquisition of UK-listed Shire from regulators around the globe. Weber said he’s optimistic about getting China’s sign-off for the deal, despite concerns that Beijing may retaliate against US tariffs by delaying or even blocking acquisitions of American companies.

“It’s one thing to create an economic situation where people have less choice to buy your cars, but it’s totally different thing to restrict the access to medicine, impacting patients and health,” Weber said. “My only wish is it doesn’t go there.”

China is now a “core country”, Weber said, and the company views it as on par with the US and Europe in research, new drug approvals and reimbursement. — Bloomberg