Daiichi shutters Japanese plant amid restructuring efforts

Dive Brief:

  • Daiichi Sankyo is closing one of its subsidiaries, Asubio Pharma Co., less than two years after acquiring the fellow Japanese company. 
  • Located in the city of Kobe, the Asubio facility functions as a drug discovery facility for Daiichi, conducting R&D for drugs in a variety of therapeutic areas, including immune, inflammatory and neurological diseases. The site employs about 150 people.
  • Daiichi will reassign the facility's operations and employees to other one of its Japan-based businesses, according to a Feb. 10 statement. The company did not release further details on the decision, but said more would be available at a later, unspecified date.

Dive Insight:

This newest facility shutdown reflects Daiichi's steadfast strategy of overhauling its R&D efforts, particularly because the company had signaled just a couple years back its optimism bringing Asubio under its wing.

"In line with the Daiichi Sankyo five-year business plan to optimize our business of delivering innovative treatments to patients, consolidating the current Asubio US projects under the company's overall R&D organization helps us streamline our operations," Glenn Gormley, the company's global head of R&D, said in an April 2015 statement.

Turnarounds like that of Daiichi and Asubio have become more common across the pharmaceutical industry. Last year was big on pipeline and organizational refinement, and many expect that trend to continue.

Just a day before the Asubio announcement, Pfizer disclosed plans to shut down an Australian plant it picked up through acquiring Hospira in 2015. The move backtracked on earlier intentions to not only keep the facility open, but pump about $16 million into improving its technology and establishing jobs. Merck, Novartis and Teva, among others, have also decided to slim down their R&D footprint in the latter half of 2016.

Japanese drugmakers have been particularly active in moving to reshape their R&D operations. Both Takeda and Eisai have announced new organizational plans within the past year. 

Daiichi's decision marks the company's second plant closure this year. Exactly one month before Asubio, the company closed Daiichi Sankyo India Pharma, which had a staff of about 170.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing
Top image credit: Wikimedia; Morio