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Teva changes course in Japan and the US Posted 28/08/2020

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Israeli drugs manufacturer Teva has made strategic decisions in the US and Japan. The company plans to strip back its Japanese venture with Takeda, selling off parts of the portfolio by early 2021. However, in the US, Teva will be entering a strategic partnership with Alvotech for the commercialization of five biosimilar candidates. 

In Japan, Teva and Takeda's venture will offload most of its generics portfolio and a manufacturing site to Nichi-Iko Pharmaceuticals. The partners plan to focus on a smaller core of specialty drugs and targeted generics. Although exactly how much of the venture's portfolio will be sold has not been specified, in their announcement, Teva noted that they plan to retain around 20 small-molecule generic drugs and some pipeline assets. In addition, Teva and Takeda will market a range of specialty drugs and authorized generics.

The Japanese downsizing follows recent restructuring by Teva and a US$3 billion scale-back plan that has led to the closure of facilities and approximately 13,000 job losses. Takeda has also recently sold off many commercial medicines to cut operating costs and pay off debt accrued when it bought Shire for US$59 billion in 2019. This has resulted in Takeda selling drugs and assets to companies such as Acino, Celltrion, Novartis and Stada.

Meanwhile in the US, Teva has entered an exclusive strategic partnership for the commercialization in the US of five biosimilar product candidates. The two companies stated that the originator products of the biosimilar candidates currently generate about US$35 billion in US sales. This partnership merges Teva’s established commercial presence and infrastructure with Alvotech’s scientific knowledge and advanced biologicals manufacturing skills. Under the agreement, Alvotech will be responsible for the development, registration and supply of the biosimilars, while Teva’s job lies in commercializing the products in the US.

Founder and Chairman of Alvotech, Robert Wessman, hopes that the new partnership with Teva ‘will accelerate the introduction and adoption of new biosimilar medicines for patients in the U.S. market’. In turn, Teva’s Executive Vice President Brendan O’Grady noted that Teva will be able to ‘lend its technical expertise in working with the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] to bring products to the US market while broadening its growing biosimilar portfolio and continuing to leverage its unique cross-functional expertise across both specialty and generic medicines’.

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