Daiichi Sankyo to Shutter Indian R&D Center, 170 Employees Affected

Published: Jan 11, 2017

Daiichi Sankyo to Shutter Indian R&D Center, 170 Employees Affected January 11, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

As part of its continuing consolidation of its research-and-development activities, Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo announced that it is closing its R&D facility in Gurgaon, India. Approximately 170 people will be affected.

The company, in a statement, said, “Daiichi Sankyo is reviewing its global R&D system with the aim of decreasing R&D operations costs and redistributing resources to the further development of its R&D pipeline.”

The company indicates that once closed, the facility’s research pipeline will be transferred to its R&D division in Japan.

Daiichi Sankyo took over the Gurgaon center in 2008, when it acquired Ranbaxy ’s research-and-development division. At that time, the facility employed about 200 scientists. The acquisition was for $4 billion (U.S.). In 2014, Daiichi sold Ranbaxy to Sun Pharma after four of its key plants were banned by the U.S. and a $500 million (US) fine was levied for falsifying data and poor manufacturing practices.

Daiichi Sankyo previously closed research-and-development facilities in the UK. The UK facility closing, based in Gerrards Cross, England, was announced in February 2016. The site employed 80 people. Its operations were transferred to its Edison, NJ-based subsidiary and its European subsidiary, based in Munich, Germany.

Just yesterday, Daiichi Sanyko announced it had signed a strategic partnership deal with Kite Pharma , headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif. The deal revolves around Kite’s lead product candidate, axicabtagene ciloleucel. The therapeutic involves engineering a patient’s T cells to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to target antigen CD19. CD19 is expressed on the surface of B-cell lymphomas and leukemias. This redirects the immune T-cells to kill the cancer cells.

Under the terms of the deal, Daiichi Sanyko will take over development and commercialization of the drug in Japan. Kite will receive $50 million upfront and be eligible for future payments up to $200 million for development and commercial milestones. Kite may also receive low to mid-double digit royalties.

Over the next three years, Daiichi Sankyo will have the option to license additional Kite candidates for Japan, including KITE-718, Kite’s T-cell receptor candidate targeting MAGE-A3/A6 and other products. Upfront and milestone payments are possible for up to $200 million per product candidate, as well as low to mid-double digit royalties. Kite will hold all development and commercialization rights outside of Japan.

Helen Kim, Kite’s chief of business development, told Endpoints News, “Daiichi Sankyo made a strategic decision to get into cell therapy. The structure is a more traditional licensing agreement. We will provide technology transfer on the manufacturing. It’s their desire to do the manufacturing” in Japan.

“We are very enthusiastic about this partnership with Kite which has the most advanced technology platform in this area and the potential for cell-based therapy to change the way in which we treat cancer in Japan,” said Koichi Akahane, Daiichi Sankyo’s Japan Head of Oncology R&D, in a statement. “We believe we can leverage the pioneering research conducted by Kite to potentially accelerate development and commercial availability of axicabtagene ciloleucel in Japan for those patients suffering from B-cell malignancies.”

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