Takeda Pharmaceuticals to Close Bay Area R&D Site; Unknown Number of Employees to be Eliminated

Published: May 23, 2012

San Francisco Business Times by Ron Leuty, Reporter

Drug maker Takeda will close the South San Francisco site it once tagged as a key to developing early-stage antibody drugs.

The Japanese company said it is consolidating its South San Francisco and San Diego operations, now called Takeda California, in San Diego.

The move comes as Asia's largest drug maker deals with a falling stock price and declining sales of its best-selling drug, the diabetes treatment Actos, even as net income climbed, according to the news agency Bloomberg. It had announced the consolidation in December but held off until Friday on disclosing the fate of the Bay Area site.

Still, there were signs of a shift at the South San Francisco operation. Mary Haak-Frendscho, president of Takeda San Francisco since its formation in 2008, recently was named executive chairman of Compugen Ltd.'s newly formed South San Francisco-based U.S. subsidiary.

Takeda at one point employed 65 people in South San Francisco and expected to grow to as many as 100 employees. Takeda did not say how many people it currently employs locally, how many jobs will be eliminated, which jobs would shift to San Diego or how many people the southern California site ultimately will employ.

The company said in a press release late Friday that most "essential antibody and biologics research technologies and staff" will move to San Diego. The company added that the move was necessary "to enhance communication and collaboration, and to capture synergies by co-localizing its staff, management and research operations" into a single site.

The San Diego site will combine protein x-ray crystallography, small molecule, antibody and antibody-drug conjugate work targeting cancer, inflammatory diseases and metabolic diseases.

"This decision supports our continuous efforts to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of Takeda's global research activities," Paul Chapman, senior vice president of Takeda's pharmaceutical research division, said in the release.

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