June 15, 2024

Pharmaceutical giant Takeda is shutting down its research and development hub in San Diego that employs 324 as part of a broader restructuring of the business.

“This site closure is primarily a result of Takeda’s decision to consolidate and restructure its research organization,” the Massachusetts-based firm said in its May 9 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) paperwork filed with the state of California.

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Opened in 2019, the local facility housed a research and development site that focused on treatments in the areas of gastroenterology, inflammation and neuroscience. When the new facility opened in 2019, it marked a multi-million dollar upgrade and expansion of Takeda’s existing offices on Science Center Drive.

In a recent financial report, the company described the facility “as a ‘biotech-like’ site” that leverages the internal resources of Takeda and external collaborators.

Some of the drugs in Takeda’s pipeline include treatments for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, a rare blood disorder, psoriatic arthritis and sleep-wake disorders, like narcolepsy.

The office at 9625 Towne Centre Drive will close by the end of September, according to the WARN notice.

Takeda has been leasing the entire 163,648-square-foot building since March 2019, according to real estate tracker CoStar. The building is owned by Pasadena-based Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Takeda is a global pharmaceutical company with its worldwide headquarters in Japan. The company’s website says it has about 18,000 employees across the United States.

The closure affects the San Diego facility’s 324 local employees, particularly its research scientists, according to the WARN.

However, not all of the San Diego workers may lose their jobs as some “will be offered the opportunity for redeployment to Takeda’s offices in Massachusetts.” The company also said employees who don’t have the opportunity to relocate will be offered severance pay and outplacement support.

Engineering lab manager Dan Scheibe (right) and staff researcher Jenna Woo (left) work in the lab at Takeda.

In this 2012 file photo, engineering lab manager Dan Scheibe (right) and staff researcher Jenna Woo (left) work in the sample management lab at Takeda California in San Diego.

(Eduardo Contreras/UT San Diego/Zuma Press)

“On May 9, we communicated to employees the difficult, but necessary decision to close our research site in San Diego to focus more of our resources on our promising late-stage pipeline and to ensure we are best positioned to create more long-term value for patients, the global health care system and society,” a company spokesperson said in an email to the Union-Tribune Thursday.

During its fourth quarter and full-year earnings report last week, Takeda noted that its large-scale restructuring plan is expected to improve profits by next year. The company also said it aims to simplify its organizational structure, cut spending and leverage data-driven technology through the business.

Takeda said via email that it is prioritizing its late-stage pipeline of promising drugs to maximize profit margins “to build resilience against the constrained environment for health care and biopharmaceutical organizations and the risks inherent in innovative therapeutic development.”

The plan will cost Takeda about $900 million this fiscal year.

While Takeda will no longer have an expansive location in San Diego, it will remain tied to the community like so many other big pharma companies, through its mergers and acquisitions.

Takeda first planted its flag in San Diego in 2005 when it purchased local biotech Syrrx Pharmaceuticals for $270 million in cash. Since then, it has struck many more deals with local biotechs, including its 2020 acquisition of PvP Biologics, a startup developing a treatment for celiac disease.

Last month, Takeda inked an exclusive licensing deal with San Diego’s Kumquat Biosciences to develop and commercialize its novel cancer therapy.

Staff writer Phillip Molnar contributed to this report.

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