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Drugmaker closing Illinios HQ, moving to Boston

Deerfield operation employed 1,000 people

Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. will close its U.S. headquarters in Deerfield, a complex of three buildings employing 1,000 people, and move the work to the Boston area.

The company notified employees Monday of its plans. Takeda has 5,000 U.S. employees.

In a statement, Takeda spokeswoman Julia Ellwanger said a number of Deerfield employees will be offered jobs elsewhere, but she didn’t specify how many.

The decision comes as Takeda works to complete its acquisition of Irish drugmaker Shire for $62.4 billion in cash and stock.

“The work currently performed at Takeda’s Deerfield location will progressively consolidate from Deerfield into the greater Boston area following a successful closing of the Shire acquisition (which is subject to shareholder approvals and regulatory consents),” Ellwanger said. “This move, while difficult, will allow closer collaboration across Takeda to best position our future pipeline for success. It will also simplify our existing Takeda U.S operations.”

The Shire deal is expected to close during the first half of 2019. Employees will be notified within six months of that deal’s closure whether they’ll still have jobs with Takeda, Ellwanger said. Takeda previously announced that it planned to cut up to 7 percent of its global workforce after the acquisition.

But even if that deal falls apart, Takeda still expects to progressively move from Deerfield into the greater Boston area, Ellwanger said. She declined to make Takeda leaders available for interviews Tuesday.

The Shire deal has faced some resistance since it was announced in May. Kazu Takeda, a member of the family that founded the company, recently said the deal would have “disastrous” consequences for Takeda and could distance it from the corporate philosophy of “Takeda-ism,” which says that profit comes from making people happy, according to the Financial Times. Kazu Takeda is part of a group of shareholders fighting the proposed deal, according to the Times.

Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal said Tuesday the village is sorry to see the company shift their operations elsewhere. “It’s sad they chose to leave Deerfield,” Rosenthal said. "They were good community partners and we will miss them. For the employees who will relocate or lose their jobs we’re sorry to see them go.”

At this point, the economic impact of the loss is unknown, she added. “We don’t know exactly how many are residents of the village,” Rosenthal said. "Those who shopped here or ate at the restaurants, we’re sorry they won’t be doing that. We hope someone will take over those beautiful buildings.”

Takeda is housed in three buildings and more than 777,000 square feet in Deerfield that’s visible from Interstate 294. The company’s real estate group will make recommendations to company leaders about what to do with the buildings once the Shire deal closes, Ellwanger said.

Crain’s Chicago Business first reported Takeda’s decision.

The announcement doesn’t come as a total surprise. Some of Takeda’s U.S. operations have already been consolidated in the Boston area in recent years. It also has a government affairs office in Washington, D.C., a manufacturing site in Minnesota, and a research facility in San Diego. The company does not have plans to close any of those sites, Ellwanger said.

In May, Ramona Sequeira, president of Takeda’s U.S. business unit, hinted to the Tribune that the company’s future in Deerfield was uncertain, saying at that time Takeda had not yet decided whether to hang on to its Deerfield offices.


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