Daiichi axes Japan R&D site a month after Indian research unit cull

This comes amid a global shake-up of its research units.

Exactly one month after Daiichi Sankyo decided to shutter its 170-person Indian R&D site the pharma company is swinging the ax again, this time in its native Japan.

Under the cull, which is part of the “ongoing efforts to review its global R&D structure to increase R&D productivity,” its Japanese research subsidiary, known as Asubio Pharma and based out of Kobe, will be closed down by the end of March next year. It opened back in 2009.

The unit has around 150 employees that work on psychiatric and neurological diseases, immune and inflammatory diseases and regenerative medicine.

“Under this reorganization, Daiichi Sankyo plans to transfer Asubio Pharma R&D functions and employees to other Daiichi Sankyo Group companies in Japan,” the pharma said, but did not give details on whether there will be any cuts from the 150 staffers.

“We expect the integration of the venture spirit of Asubio Pharma into other Daiichi Sankyo research activities to contribute greatly to improving R&D productivity,” it added in a brief statement.

This comes after the announcement that it would close its Indian facility last month, which was brought into its network back in 2010 from Ranbaxy. It had been working discovery and preclinical development of small molecules against infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Daiichi management decided to close the unit and transfer pipeline programs in development at the site to its main R&D division.

Japan and India join R&D units in the United Kingdom and Germany on the list of those axed by Daiichi in the past two years.

In parallel to the internal cuts, Daiichi has also penned a string of oncology deals designed to give it a pipeline of candidates that can increase its success rate in the clinic. The most recent and high profile of these agreements is the deal with Kite Pharma, which gave Daiichi the rights to CAR-T drug KTE-C19 in Japan.