Japan’s largest drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical is scouting for potential multibillion-dollar acquisitions in the United States and other overseas markets as it seeks to reduce dependence on sluggish domestic sales.
Chief Executive Christophe Weber told Reuters on Wednesday that he is now more open to deals after refocusing the company on three key therapeutic areas and launching an overhaul of its research activities.
“We are much more organised and ready to do something now than one year ago,” he said in a telephone interview. “We are very active and we are looking at opportunities.”
Weber, a French national who took over as the company’s first foreign boss last year, is on a mission to make Takeda a truly global pharmaceuticals business, arguing that this requires greater investment and expansion outside Japan.
At the end of July he set out plans for a 75 billion yen ($725 million) reorganisation of research and development by concentrating R&D efforts in the United States and Japan.
That revamp is part of a broader streamlining process designed to make the company a force to be reckoned with in its core therapy areas of cancer, gastrointestinal (GI) and central nervous system (CNS) medicine, plus vaccines.
Weber said he would be happy to see Takeda’s ratio of net debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) rise to 2, or slightly more, but he declined to confirm a report in the Financial Times that the company had set aside $10 billion to $15 billion for acquisitions.
Takeda’s current net debt to EBITDA ratio is less than 1. ($1 = 103.2000 yen)