By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd will be allowed to keep a drug used to treat bowel disease because changes in the market have removed the need to sell it to allay EU antitrust concerns over last year’s acquisition of Shire plc.

Two years ago, the European Commission ordered the Japanese drugmaker to sell off the biologic drug SHP 647 developed by Shire to treat inflammatory bowel diseases.

The EU competition enforcer said on Thursday it had reversed its decision after an investigation that followed Takeda’s request to waive its pledge.

The probe found that new rival drugs had emerged, studies on Shire’s SHP 647 had yielded negative results and management of that business had also found it difficult to get patients for clinical trials.

All these factors had a negative impact on the drug and its prospects, it said.

“On this basis, the Commission concluded that the combination of the above developments amounted to exceptional circumstances, so that the divestment of SHP 647 was no longer necessary to render Takeda’s acquisition of Shire compatible with the internal market,” the Commission said.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Marine Strauss; Editing by David Evans and Jan Harvey)