DUBLIN—The board of directors at Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG) announced Wednesday that it has “indicated to Takeda Pharmaceutical that it would be willing to recommend a revised [acquisition] proposal to Shire shareholders” if the two companies can reach a satisfactory resolution to other terms of the deal, including completion of reciprocal due diligence by Shire. The two companies have been in deal negotiations for several weeks, and Takeda has increased its offer to buy Shire at least four times, according to reports. Shire, which has its U.S. operations base in Lexington, Mass., markets the dry eye treatment Xiidra

Takeda, a Japanese pharmaceutical company that is smaller than Shire, has raised its purchase offer in cash and Takeda shares to “approximately £46 billion,” or about $64 billion, according to the Shire statement on Wednesday.

In its statement on Wednesday, Shire also noted that the U.K.’s Panel on Takeovers and Mergers has agreed to extend the companies’ deadline for reaching a deal until May 8 “to enable the parties to conclude their ongoing discussions. This deadline may be extended further with the consent of the Takeover Panel, at Shire’s request.”

If the deal is ultimately approved by the respective boards and the shareholders, it would rank among one of the largest deals in pharmaceuticals sector, coming in behind Pfizer’s $112 billion takeover of Warner Lambert in 2000, according to the U.K. newspaper The Guardian. The latest stock and cash offer from Takeda, which was delivered on Tuesday, values Shire at £49 a share, about £5 more than Takeda’s initial bid, the newspaper reported.

Shire is a leader in treatments for rare diseases, while Takeda is the largest Japanese-based pharmaceutical company. The two companies acknowledged the possibility of reaching a deal late last week, as VMAIL reported