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Report: Takeda considers sale of Nycomed unit to ease debt burden

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. will contemplate divesting its Nycomed unit as part of plans to sell about $10 billion in assets to alleviate its debt burden from the recently completed £46 billion takeover of Shire PLC, the Financial Times reported.

Takeda bought the Swiss drugmaker, which is focused on lung conditions, in 2011 and now considers it a part of its noncore asset portfolio, the Japanese drugmaker's CEO Christophe Weber said in an interview at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

According to Weber, Takeda is looking to find buyers with a better strategic fit for hundreds of brands that are not core to the company, including hypertension drug Azilva, diabetes medicine Nesina and gout therapy Uloric.

Tokyo-based Takeda intends to streamline its operations, focusing on five core areas: cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, plasma-derived therapies, rare disorders and the nervous system.

Weber said he was "confident" that the Shire deal would drive "long-term, highly innovative and sustainable" growth, shaking off the idea that Takeda might need to pursue a major acquisition every five years to sustain its pipeline, the FT noted. "Our long-term ambition is to have a very productive research and development engine," Weber added.