Economy

Shire Sells Oncology Business To Servier For USD2.4 Billion (ALLISS)

Shire Sells Oncology Business To Servier For USD2.4 Billion (ALLISS)

Shire's shares have lost a little over a fifth of their value over the past year, as compared with about a 1.1-percent drop in the Footsie.

Shire PLC has agreed to sell its oncology business to French drugmaker Servier for $2.4 billion, in a deal that could discourage Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. from launching a takeover of the London-listed company.

Takeda had identified oncology, along with gastroenterology and neuroscience, as one of the key therapeutic areas which would benefit from the acquisition. Takeda declined to comment further on Monday. One analyst said that the unit was considered to be non-core for Shire.

The drugs industry has seen a surge in deal-making this year as large players look for promising assets to improve their pipelines, but a Takeda-Shire transaction would be by far the biggest yet.

"While the oncology business has delivered high growth and profitability, we have concluded that it is not core to Shire's longer-term strategy", Chief Executive Officer Flemming Ornskov said in the statement. They might be returned to shareholders in the form of a share buyback, Shire says, when the Takeda offer period is over.

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Shire has always been seen as a likely takeover target and was almost bought by USA drugmaker AbbVie in 2014, until US tax rule changes caused it to walk away. Shire's board began considering a sale of the oncology business in December.

The Oncology business consists of in-market products ONCASPAR, or pegaspargase, a component of multi-agent treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and ex-US rights to ONIVYDE, a component for the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

For privately held Servier, acquiring Shire's oncology operation allows it to establish a direct commercial presence in the United States and boosts its presence in cancer.

The portfolio also includes Calaspargase Pegol (Cal-PEG), which is under U.S. review for the treatment of ALL and early stage immuno-oncology pipeline collaborations, the firm noted.


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