Facing Actos Lawsuits, Takeda Keeping Options Open

Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is keeping open the possibility of making more deals after spending nearly $15 billion on overseas acquisitions over the past two years, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Takeda, which is facing a number of Actos lawsuits over the diabetes drug's link to bladder cancer in patients, is also looking to combat impending patent expirations, the news provider said.

"We will be looking for those things that are a very good fit with what we have already put in place," Anna Protopapas, a corporate officer at Takeda, told the Journal during a recent interview. "I think we'll be very disciplined in what we do, really convincing ourselves that it's a great strategic fit and it's at the right price."

Protopapas added that the company is interested in investing in scientific research for potential new products. Recently, Takeda's successor to Actos, which is facing patent expiration in addition to the lawsuits, was rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The drug manufacturer's pursuit of overseas deals comes despite the fact that Takeda projects a 40 percent decline in operating profit for the current year through March, though costs on deals and research accounts for much of that total, according to the Journal.

Specifically, Protopapas told the news source that Takeda's acquisition of Swiss drugmaker Nycomed last year for $13.7 billion was an effort to fill the hole left by the Actos departure and to improve the company's "global footprint."

This improvement effort is an uphill climb for Takeda due to the serious allegations leveled at its Actos type 2 diabetes medication. With studies pointing toward the link between an increased risk of bladder cancer, the FDA and the European Medicines Agency both called for Actos warnings to be updated on the drug's label. Additionally, Actos has been suspended in France and restricted in Germany.

Across the U.S. and in Canada, a number of diabetics have launched lawsuits against Takeda claiming they would not have taken Actos if they had been aware of the potentially life-threatening consequences. Some claims even assert that Takeda knowingly concealed information about the bladder cancer risk in an effort to maintain strong profit margins, according to reports.