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Takeda launches new U.S. venture


Pharmaceutical Representative

In a time when mergers and acquisitions are the talk of the pharmaceutical industry, Takeda is generating a different kind of market buzz.

In a time when mergers and acquisitions are the talk of the pharmaceutical industry, Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc. is generating a different kind of market buzz.

The Lincolnshire, IL-based start-up company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Takeda Inc., is up and almost running less than one year after its conception. Although its first and only brand name product has yet to receive official Food and Drug Administration marketing approval, the company has already laid the foundation for its staff, philosophy and identity. It also announced that, upon FDA approval, it would copromote the product with Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.

"We look to be on our feet by July," said Alan MacKenzie, the company's senior vice president of sales and marketing.

The company's inaugural drug is Actos (pioglitazone), an insulin sensitizer that will compete against drugs such as Parke-Davis' Rezulin. It is the first compound that Takeda has researched and developed independently in the United States.

"We are very much about being a focused diabetes company," MacKenzie said. "When you think about only one therapeutic class, it can make you very strong very quick. That's a great strength [we have] and we should leverage that."

Takeda Pharmaceuticals America does not plan on limiting its focus only to diabetes, however. The company's plan is to build its sales model around one therapeutic class so that model can be replicated in other therapeutic areas in the future.

Previously, MacKenzie was a long-time employee of TAP Pharmaceuticals, a U.S. venture that Takeda owns equally with Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL. He cited TAP's success as an example of the kind of growth Takeda Pharmaceuticals America hopes to achieve.

"TAP is a remarkable success story," MacKenzie said. "It started in 1985 with $2 million in sales and a sales force of 56 people. Today it has a sales organization of 1,500 and sales approaching $3 billion. It has a wonderful pipeline and a terrific future."

High praise from one camp to another, perhaps, but the amicable attitude comes from the top down, according to MacKenzie. "Takeda's support of TAP is every bit as strong as it ever was," he said. Takeda simply wants to develop and market wholly owned products.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals America will field a sales force of roughly 255 reps in 26 districts managed by four regional sales directors. The company will have in-house training, marketing, distribution and administrative departments in its Lincolnshire headquarters.

The energy and enthusiasm of building something new, from the ground up, pervades MacKenzie's speech and expectations for the company.

"You have to have a high enthusiasm for what you do and a strong belief in the company," he said of the attitude he expects will define Takeda Pharmaceuticals America. "We feel a real sense of autonomy and a great sense of confidence from Japan to serve the market we're in. We can start a company based on the belief that nobody cares more about their customers than Takeda does. If we pull that off, that will be a distinguishing factor." PR

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