Takeda Is Said to Weigh Sale of Shire’s Xiidra to Cut Debt

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OSAKA, Japan—Having recently agreed to purchase Shire Plc for $62 billion, Osaka-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is now considering selling Shire’s eyecare business once its purchase of the U.K.-listed biotech firm is completed, as it seeks ways to cut the debt raised to fund the deal. The news was first reported yesterday by Bloomberg. According to Bloomberg, “people familiar with the matter” said that Xiidra, a Shire drug used to treat dry eye disease, is among potential divestments being assessed by Takeda. The Osaka-based company has also been discussing with banks about a possible sale of Shire’s Natpara medicine, used to control low blood calcium levels related to decreased parathyroid hormone, according to the sources, who asked not to be named.

The potential sale of the drugs could help Takeda raise about $4 billion to $5 billion, depending on the assets that ultimately get sold, the people said. Deliberations are at an early stage, and Takeda hasn’t made a decision on which divestments to pursue, according to sources.

Representatives for Shire and Takeda declined to comment.

Any sale of Shire assets would only take place after Takeda’s takeover of the drugmaker is completed, the people said. Takeda executives have said the company intends to call an extraordinary meeting to vote on the deal after obtaining regulatory approvals in more than 20 markets. The deal is expected to close in March, according to a Bloomberg survey. The company previously said the acquisition would close in the first half of 2019.

In other news, The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that Takeda will close its Deerfield, Ill. U.S. headquarters and move the operations to Boston as the company consolidates its operations following its acquisition of Shire. The Illinois facility employs about 1,000 people.