Japan’s Takeda says drug pipeline to lift sales to $48 billion in next decade

FILE PHOTO: A Takeda logo is seen in its research hub in Cambridge

By Rocky Swift

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co said on Wednesday its drug pipeline is poised to drive annual sales up by more than 50%, to 5 trillion yen ($48.01 billion) in the next decade.

Japan’s biggest drugmaker is trying to turn the spotlight on its growth prospects after its $59 billion takeover of Shire Plc, completed last year. Since the merger, the company’s shares have underperformed domestic and global peers as it focused on selling $10 billion in non-core assets to reduce debt.

“One of the questions that we’ve had to ask ourselves is, how can we help our investor base better understand our pipeline, and assume the same energy and enthusiasm that we have?” research and development president Andy Plump said in an online briefing to analysts and media.

The company outlined a wave of 12 new drugs planned for the next few years, including a dengue fever vaccine and its Orexcin narcolepsy drugs, which it expects could deliver $6 billion in annual sales.

The 5 trillion yen sales target by March 2031 compares with estimated revenue of 3.2 trillion yen this fiscal year.

“Takeda’s management is keenly aware of its poor stock performance and would like analysts to take a more bullish view of its pipeline,” Jefferies analyst Stephen Barker wrote in a research note. “But analysts may not be convinced until more data is available.”

The Shire acquisition, completed in January 2019, expanded Takeda’s pipeline and diversified its global sales. But it also saddled the drugmaker with a large debt pile.

The company reached its goal of asset disposals when it agreed in August to sell its Japanese consumer healthcare business to Blackstone Group.

Takeda’s shares, down 6.5% this year, rose 1.2% in Tokyo trading versus a 0.9% gain in the broader market.

(Reporting by Rocky Swift. Editing by Gerry Doyle)