Shire sells oncology business to Servier

April 16, 2018

Shire has announced it is selling its oncology business to French drugmaker, Servier, for $2.4 billion, as rumors about a Takeda takeover continue to gain momentum.

The stars of the cancer unit are Oncaspar, used in the treatment of a form of leukemia, and Onivyde, for pancreatic cancer. Shire said its board will consider using proceeds for a stock buyback after Takeda decides whether to go through with its contemplated offer.

Opinions are split in terms of whether or not this move is an incentive or deterrent for Takeda. Some contend that the cancer divestment may be a negative for Takeda, given that oncology was one of the areas it had highlighted as driving the case for a Shire deal. Yet others say the divestiture will tighten Shire’s focus on rare disease, which will actually make it more attractive to Takeda.