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May 22, 2012

Takeda Consolidates California Research Operations in San Diego

  • Takeda will consolidate its California R&D operations into a single site, shutting down its antibody and biologics research facility in South San Francisco and moving “the most essential antibody and biologics research technologies and staff” to San Diego. The consolidated San Diego site will “address unmet medical needs in cancer, immunology, and metabolic disease by antibody biologics and small molecule approaches, and combinations thereof,” Takeda said.

    No details have been divulged on how many people now work at the two sites, how many jobs the company will eliminate, how many it would shift to San Diego, or how many people the southern California site ultimately will employ.

    Takeda’s consolidation comes four months after the Japanese pharma giant combined two wholly owned subsidiaries, Takeda San Diego (TSD) and Takeda San Francisco (TSF), into a single Takeda California, helmed by the president of the former TSD subsidiary, Keith Wilson.

    Takeda entered San Diego in 2005 when it sought to increase its capability for discovering new drugs by acquiring U.S. firm Syrrx. The company was focused on applying high-speed X-ray protein crystal structure analysis technology.

    In November 2007, Takeda established TSF with the goal of building a sophisticated platform for discovery, activity enhancement, and manufacturing of antibody therapeutics. Takeda envisioned TSF as an “IND engine,” targeting and validating antibody discoveries before handing them off to other Takeda units once they reached the IND application.

    TSF formed Catalyst Biosciences focused on proteases in South San Francisco as a result of a collaboration agreement with University of California, San Francisco researcher Charles S. Craik, Ph.D., director of chemistry and the chemical biology graduate program. At the time, Takeda said it would be the first of many collaborations for Catalyst. However, Catalyst’s website lists only Pfizer and MedImmune as research collaboration partners.

    Prospective cancer treatments developed at TSF were to be shifted to Millennium Pharmaceuticals, which Takeda acquired in May 2008 for nearly $9 billion cash, while nononcology products were to move to an R&D facility near Chicago, and products for the Japanese market, to Osaka.

    “The combination of the excellent platform technology of TSD and expertise of therapeutic antibody research accumulated by TSF will further increase the R&D capability of new drug discovery,” Takeda said. "In addition, further improvement of communication in the research activities will improve operational efficiency.

    Takeda California is the U.S. spoke of a research network that includes sites in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere in Asia, all anchored by the Shonan Research Center, located in the Japanese cities of Fujisawa and Kamakura. "We will accelerate our efforts to create innovative drugs to fulfill unmet medical needs while maximizing the synergy of the research activities following the integration,” the company stated.

    To read the story from the San Francisco Business Times, click here.

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