Takeda's buying spree continues with CNS splurge

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Takeda's roll of acquisitions continues. The company announced Tuesday it was buying up privately-held Envoy Therapeutics. Takeda already held a 12.5% stake in the company, from when it chipped in money for Envoy's launch in 2009. The acquisition follows Takeda's April purchase of URL pharma for $800 million, not to mention its $14 billion Nycomed acquisition in 2011. The company also brought Millennium into the fold four years ago, along with its oncology portfolio, for $8.8 billion.

The URL deal added to Takeda's presence in the gout market, while Nycomed sweep gave it the COPD anti-inflammation drug Daxas and a major imprint in Europe. Envoy gives Takeda an experimental pipeline including two Parkinson's treatments, two schizophrenia therapies, and products in development for mood disorders, pain, addiction, and cognitive impairment.

Takeda also gets Envoy's bacTrap technology, which the company said in a statement melds “innovative genetic engineering with molecular biology techniques for labeling and extracting the protein-making components of specific types of cells.” The tech is a good match for Takeda's CNS business, to which the company said at a May strategy session it was devoting about 14% of its R&D budget for FY 2012 through FY 2014.

Its CNS focus shares mindshare with its efforts in oncology (31% of the R&D budget), Cardiovascular and Metabolic (27% of R&D) and Respiratory/Immunology and General Medicine for which it's allocated 12% each. Vaccines make up the smallest part of the company's R&D focus, garnering 4% of the budget through 2014.

The acquisition also gives Takeda 21 Envoy employees, whom the company said in a statement it expects to keep up Envoy's Jupiter, Fla., site through March 2013. The company said it will probably transfer most of the investigators and management employees to the Takeda California offices in San Diego.

Takeda said in a statement that it expects to close the Envoy deal this week.

Correction: an earlier version of this article indicated the URL purchase gave Takeda its start in the gout market, when it had in fact had a treatment--Uloric-- which the FDA approved in 2009. We regret the error.

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