Shire grew into a leader in plasma-derived therapies through its $32bn (€29bn) takeover of Baxalta, the Baxter spinoff that had a portfolio of such products and the infrastructure to manufacture them. Takeda took control of those assets at the start of the year when it completed its $62bn takeover of Shire.
Now, Takeda has outlined its plans for the plasma business. Julie Kim, who went from Baxter to Baxalta to Shire to Takeda through the series of transactions involving the plasma assets, set out the plans at Takeda’s Plasma-Derived Therapies Day.
With Takeda forecasting the global plasma market will grow from $21bn in 2018 to $29bn in 2023, Kim, who now works as president of Takeda’s plasma-derived therapies unit, and her colleagues plan to take multiple actions to ensure the company has the capacity to meet rising demand.
Kim said, “When you look at this combined, in terms of our approach to improving efficiencies, whether that's through process improvements or yield improvements [or] other optimization opportunities, particularly with the broader manufacturing network within Takeda, and the expansion that we are executing against at each facility, these factors combined will lead to more than 65% growth in our manufacturing capacity in the coming five years.”
Production of plasma-derived therapies starts with the collection of human donations, the entire process can take up to seven months and is capital intensive. Those factors create high barriers to entry, giving Takeda the chance to generate revenues from products for far longer than is typical in the small molecule and biologics sectors.
Takeda is embarking on the manufacturing expansion in parallel to a related effort to increase access to plasma supply. As the starting point for plasma-derived therapies, these donations are an essential step in the supply chain.
The direct link between the availability of plasma and maximum manufacturing output led Takeda to tie its capacity expansion plan to an identical targeted increase in plasma supply of 65% over the next five years. Takeda chose the same target to increase the likelihood it will make efficient use of the very capital-intensive plasma sourcing and manufacturing operation.
Kim said, “You don’t want to have a situation where you have a very expensive manufacturing site sitting idle. At the same time, you don’t want excess plasma, which is very expensive to hold in terms of inventory and ... doesn’t have an extremely long shelf life, sitting and going to waste.”