Yasuchika Hasegawa - The 25 most influential people in biopharma today

Revising the portfolio

Yasuchika Hasegawa
Takeda Pharmaceutical

Yasuchika Hasegawa, CEO of Takeda Pharmaceutical, is a man with ambition. He has moved the Japanese pharmaceutical company into the top spot in Japan, and has shifted the company's emphasis from domestic drugmaker to global biopharma player. And he intends to move from a portfolio focused on marketing of mature products to one that is much more diverse, including new products in a much wider range of therapeutic areas, showing the rest of the industry the way to go.

Hasegawa, who has been at Takeda since 1970, became president in 2003, and took the helm as CEO in 2009. He has been involved in Takeda's two recent major acquisitions, the purchase of the U.S. oncology company Millennium Pharmaceuticals in 2008, and the acquisition of Swiss biotech Nycomed in 2011, reported to be the largest ever cross-border takeover by a Japanese pharmaceutical company. Both of these deals have given Takeda better access to the European and U.S. markets and the Nycomed purchase is predicted to increase group sales 30% and operating profits 40% in three years after the deal closed last September. However, Hasegawa's acquisitiveness doesn't seem to be over--he told The Financial Times: "We will watch carefully where there are opportunities, but it's like fishing. Whether the fish will come to your pool you don't know."

Like many CEOs at biopharma companies, Hasegawa has to make some tough decisions to keep the company successful, and in January this included cutting 2,800 jobs in the U.S. and consolidating R&D sites after the purchase of Nycomed, as outlined in the company's 2011-2013 Mid-Range Plan.

"While our combined operations in more than 70 countries are more complementary than overlapping, there are a number of areas where we will need to make changes to ensure efficient and flexible operations moving forward," said Hasegawa.

While Japanese companies have a reputation of being conservative and dominated by male executives, Hasegawa has helped women take some of the top jobs at Takeda, providing a positive influence on the industry and creating some great role models, not just in Japan but worldwide. When Takeda took over Millennium, Hasegawa kept Deborah Dunsire on as president and CEO, and he promoted Anna Protopapas, previously at Millennium and one of the movers and shakers behind the takeover, to executive VP, global business development at Takeda. Takeda's senior women also include Nancy Joseph-Ridge, general manager of the company's pharmaceutical development unit.

"I think on a global basis, Takeda has embraced senior [executive] women in the organization," Protopapas told FierceBiotech.

Exciting times could be ahead for Takeda, and for the man at the top, Yasuchika Hasegawa. It will be interesting to see how the now global company makes out in these difficult financial times.

Yasuchika Hasegawa - The 25 most influential people in biopharma today