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Pioneering drug firm Shire is braced for a fourth takeover bid from a Japanese rival, valuing it at more than £44billion.

The FTSE 100 firm, which is based in Ireland but has offices in the UK, yesterday said it had beaten off three proposals from Takeda.

In a dramatic day, it was revealed the firm could also be targeted by Botox-maker Allergan, which said it was ready to gatecrash the talks with a bumper offer.

The potential tug-of-war would have pitted two of the globe’s biggest names in medicine against each other for the maker of Adderall and global dominance in the lucrative rare diseases market.

But last night, just hours after their interest was revealed, Allergan said it would not table a bid, leaving the door open for Takeda’s fourth approach.

However, analysts now expect other global giants, such as Pfizer and Roche, to consider an offer.

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