Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda has acquired US cancer specialist Ariad in a deal worth £4.3 billion.

The deal will see the incorporation of Ariad’s rare cancer and leukaemia drugs into Takeda’s portfolio.

Ariad drugs of particular interest include its leukaemia candidate Iclusig and its soon-to-be-FDA-approved lung cancer candidate brigatinib.

Ariad’s purchase will allow Takeda to sell both drugs in Asia.

Both therapies could help Takeda recuperate any sales losses of its multiple myeloma drug Velcade, incurred by the introduction of generic competition to the market later this year.

The company also has patents for some of its other top-selling drugs expiring in 2020, giving generic drug companies the opportunity to replicate their products and sell them at much lower prices.

Takeda’s purchase is the latest in a series of big pharma acquisitions of cancer drug specialists. In August last year, Pfizer purchased Medivation in a deal worth $14 billion.