Actos maker to buy gout treatment manufacturer

Takeda Pharmaceuticals Actos maker to buy gout treatment manufacturerJapanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co. is hoping an $800 million acquisition of U.S. gout treatment maker URL Pharma Inc. will boost the company’s U.S. sales and, ideally, cover ground lost with its blockbuster type 2 diabetes drug Actos. Not only does Actos lose its patent protection later this year, paving the way for generic competition, sales of the drug have slumped since last year, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that studies have linked the diabetes treatment to bladder cancer.

Takeda is Japan’s largest drug maker, but the majority of its sales come from the United States with drugs such as Actos and Uloric, a once-daily treatment designed to lower blood uric levels in adults with gout.

Actos was approved by the FDA in 1999 as an oral treatment for type 2 diabetes. It rivaled the top selling type 2 diabetes drug Avandia, made by GlaxoSmithKline, but got an edge in the market in 2010 when the FDA placed severe restrictions on Avandia because of the risk for fatal heart attacks. But a few months later, studies linked Actos to bladder cancer.

URL Pharma’s best selling drug is Colcrys, a treatment for gout flare-ups. The drug generated more than $430 million in revenues last year. Takeda sees the acquisition of URL Pharma as providing a strong long-term source of revenue to complement its core therapeutic areas in the United States.

Analysts say that Takeda’s purchase of URL Pharma is hard to understand and that rather than focusing on its gout franchise, it might be in the company’s best interest to instead target more products or drugs in late-stage development.

Source: Chicago Business