European Players Wake Up to Japanese Opportunities
European biotech companies have historically shied away from regional transactions in Japan, instead lumping Japanese rights into global deals with more familiar Western counterparts. But some recent deals indicate that they're beginning to recognize the significant value in separating out Japanese rights. Particularly since nowadays, licensing in Japan needn't be any more challenging than it is anywhere else.
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Economic recovery, pharmaceutical consolidation, and a burgeoning private equity sector have encouraged a new cluster of Japan-focused specialty pharmas
Bayer's retreat from the global, primary-care stage into the mid-sized, regionally-focused specialist player arena was forced upon it by its own particular set of challenges. But other drug firms facing similar issues should take note: globalism may not be the best way forward in today's environment.
Alizyme's out-licensing pact with Takeda for Japanese rights to the UK biotech's Phase II anti-obesity compound ATL-962 underscores the practical and funding advantages of a Japanese-market deal as a precursor to negotiating US and European licenses. Opportunities for other European biotechs to do the same may increase: Takeda's willingness to develop a still relatively early-stage compound in a tricky development area highlights Japanese firms' particularly acute need for pipeline products.