May 14, 2018 / 6:48 AM / in a year

Takeda forecasts 17 percent profit decline on Velcade U.S. exclusivity loss

The logo of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. is displayed at the company's news conference venue in Tokyo, Japan May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd (4502.T) on Monday forecast a 17 percent fall in operating profit for the year through March 2019 as blood cancer drug Velcade looks set to lose exclusivity in the U.S.

The decline, which is likely to be partly offset by growing sales of drugs such as bowel disease treatment Entyvio and heartburn and ulcer drug Takecab, underscores Takeda’s need to bolster its pipeline. It also comes days after it agreed to a record-breaking $62 billion deal to acquire London-listed Shire SHP.L.

Profit for the year ended March 2018 grew 55 percent to 241.8 billion yen ($2.21 billion) - its highest in six years.

Entyvio sales grew 41 percent to 201.4 billion yen, with Takecab sales up 62 percent to 55.1 billion yen. Velcade sales fell 0.2 percent to 137.3 billion yen.

The Shire acquisition is expected to add strength in rare diseases and blood-derived therapies to Takeda’s three core areas of gastroenterology, oncology and neuroscience. It will also result in the U.S. market accounting for almost half of sales from a third currently.

Rare disease treatments are seen as more sheltered from price pressures in the U.S. affecting areas like oncology.

The Shire deal could close by the end of the year, Chief Executive Christopher Weber said last week. Remaining hurdles include receiving regulatory and shareholder approval.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Himani Sarkar

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