By Bruce Japsen | The looming decline in sales from the blockbuster diabetes drug Actos
figured into Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s decision Wednesday to slash
nearly 1,600 U.S. jobs — including hundreds in Chicago’s northern
Japan’s largest drug maker operates from its U.S. base in Deerfield
under the name Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc. It faces
competition in the next two years from upcoming generic versions of its
flagship product, the diabetes prescription Actos.
Meanwhile, the company’s revenue is falling after last year’s loss of patent protection for its former blockbuster drug Prevacid, a prescription heartburn pill. Prevacid now has dosages in cheaper generic and over-the-counter forms. Takeda said Prevacid sales for fiscal 2009 — which ran from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010 — were $1.2 billion, a 30 percent drop from the prior fiscal year. At one time, Prevacid sales raked in more than $3 billion annually.
Takeda said the loss of sales, plus challenges in its drug development pipeline, were key reasons the company needs to restructure — for example, Takeda had to do additional studies of an experimental diabetes drug known as alogliptin.
The company has 5,000 U.S. employees. Of those, 1,400 largely sales jobs, including 300 employees at the Deerfield home office on the Tri-State Tollway north of Chicago, will be cut. In addition, about 20 percent, or 170 of the 840 jobs at Takeda Global Research and Development Center Inc. in Lake Forest will also be eliminated as part of a restructuring.
“This will position us for success in 2010 and beyond so we can continue the important work of research and development in order to deliver important new treatments for unmet patient needs,” the company said in a statement issued this morning.
The moves come less than a month after Takeda said its top-selling brand-name diabetes drug, Actos, would be available in generic form in two years, under a settlement reached with several makers of generic drugs who are trying to bring a cheaper version to U.S. consumers.
Takeda has said it is “operating under the assumption that the entry of generic versions of Actos” will be by Aug. 17, 2012.
In addition to being Takeda’s biggest revenue producer, Actos is the nation’s top-selling brand-name diabetes drug. It was the eighth best-selling brand in 2009, generating $3.4 billion in U.S. sales, according to the most recent information available from the market.