Shire offloads oncology unit to Servier for $2.4bn

The Dublin headquarters of drug-maker Shire

Shire is to sell its oncology business to France's Servier for $2.4 billion, in a move seen as a deterrent to a takeover by Takeda.

Shire's oncology business includes in-market products Oncaspar (pegaspargase), a component of multi-agent treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and ex-US rights to Onivyde (irinotecan pegylated liposomal formulation), which is part of a treatment regimen for metastatic pancreatic cancer post gemcitabine-based therapy.

A deal for Shire could be valued at as much as $50 billion, which would make it one of the biggest takeovers by a Japanese firm of an overseas company and far exceed Takeda's own market value of about $37 billion.

He added that the money raised from the transaction "increases optionality" for the company and may be deployed to buy back shares "after the current offer period regarding Takeda's possible offer for Shire concludes" on 25 April. The process identified multiple potential strategic buyers across the U.S., Europe and Japan, Shire said.

In addition, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd is still now in the process of considering approaching Shire with an offer to acquire the group, after Nikkei reported earlier in April that Takeda could value Shire at USD55 billion. Takeda declined to comment further on Monday.


Two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said last week that Takeda had sounded out its major creditors for loans to fund a potential Shire bid.

Shire gained as much as 3.5 percent to 3,732 pence in early trading in London.

The portfolio also includes Calaspargase Pegol (Cal-PEG), which is under United States review for the treatment of ALL and early stage immuno-oncology pipeline collaborations, the firm noted. It said last month that any deal would strengthen its core therapeutic areas of developing medicines for cancer, gastroenterology and neuroscience.

If a deal were to be struck, it would see the hunter become the hunted after Shire itself went on the acquisition trail only two years ago when it bought Baxalta for 32 billion USA dollars (£22.6 billion).

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